Fairytale, Interrupted: Lisa’s Love Story Shaken by Cancer, Part II

This two-part article was written exclusively for LymphomaInfo.net by Lisa Lafferty McGill. Lisa was leading a healthy and active lifestyle until she was diagnosed with stage IV mediastinal B-Cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in late 2012. This is her story.

Click here to read Part I.

Fred and I were assured that my chances for survival were high. I was young and I was healthy, thanks to my active lifestyle and fitness goal. Frightened as I was, I wanted to get started on evicting the tumor and lead a normal life.

My oncologist is a rockstar. He is dedicated to finding the most effective treatment and ensuring his patients receive it. I spent a month receiving radiation treatment, which helped to improve walking. Then, a few days before my chemotherapy treatment began, an article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine called “Dose-Adjusted EPOCH-Rituximab Therapy in Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma.” Instead of a one-day treatment, my doctor switched to this treatment, which is a five-day in-patient blast of chemotherapy medicines. The treatment has a very high rate of success.

The treatment was rough, but I was ready to tackle the tumor. The treatment went well, but I did have some complications afterward including a lung issue that may have been pneumonia and a couple of different infections. In a frightening turn of events, a high fever landed me in the hospital in September. My body went septic, and I was close to death.

Making Progress and Staying Positive

At this time, I am scheduled to have two more outpatient chemotherapy treatments. Once completed, some scans will be scheduled to determine if any of the cancer remains. Progress is slow, but I am now able to walk with just a cane. I can maneuver a few stairs, get dressed without sitting, and breathe without an oxygen machine. It’s crazy how a person can go from being extremely healthy to very sick in such a short span of time.

Losing my first husband taught me how to handle life’s rollercoaster. Laughter helps immensely, so I post frequently on my Facebook page and my blog. Writing helps me work through any worries and provides me with necessary support from both real and virtual friends and family.

When I was diagnosed, I vowed to remain positive. I knew it would be rough but important to maintain serenity and peace. Maybe my body needed a timeout after years of handling everything on my own. I don’t know. I know one thing for sure: I have learned to live without stress, and I fully expect to live out my fairytale when this adventure is complete.

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