Diagnosed with Mantle Cell non-Hodgkin’s lymhoma in 1999 after a stranger pointed out a lump in his neck. Treated with chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, and rituximab. In remission.
One day, at a church barbeque, a complete stranger, who was a GP, approached him and pointed out that there was a lump in his neck and recommended him to go to his GP. A few days later his GP examined him, announced that he had lots of swollen glands suggesting he possibly had a serious disease, and that he should go to hospital immediately. He went home to tell his wife and family and then on to hospital. He was examined by a consultant who said he probably had lymphoma but needed a biopsy on the lump in his neck to confirm it. The pathology results showed that he had Mantle Cell lymphoma, a relatively newly-recognised and quite aggressive type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A CT scan confirmed that the lymphoma had spread to all of his lymph glands. He was told that his disease could have killed him at any time so he was lucky to have been diagnosed when he was.
He was given six doses of CHOP chemotherapy administered intravenously, during which he was hospitalised five times because of infections. He then had a stem cell transplant with high dose BEAM chemotherapy administered through a Hickman line. He also had blood transfusions to try to build up his immune system. After being discharged from hospital he had to adhere to a neutropenic diet for two months. After three months he was given a course of a monoclonal antibody called rituximab, delivered through his Hickman line.
After being off work for 11 months he returned part-time, but eighteen months later developed shingles and went off sick again for about two months. He returned to work part-time again but tiredness prevented him from being able to resume full-time working so he took early retirement.