I remember diagnosis clearly. I was sitting in the UCSF doctor’s office of a man I had not met before a physician I was referred to. I had first gone to a doctor on my Blue Cross Insurance list, a Russian woman who said the word “lymphoma.” I was hoping the foreign word would continue to be foreign. She gave me a referral to UCSF on Fillmore Street in San Francisco close to where I was living at the time.
Later it was UCSF Medical Center and Hospital on the huge hill above the City with a view all the way to the SF Bay on the 5th Floor, Hematology/ Oncology. The doctor the physician met by referral examined me and said you will need tests. When the results came back he patted my knee and said, “You do have Cancer”. I had to fight for admission to my next doctor. Almost denied because of my cheap insurance, I spoke harshly to the admittance worker. Fortunately I got into UCSF Medical Center by a friend of my brothers, a physician, giving another referral to the final physician, the Oncology doctor Dr. L –. He personally saved me. Got me out of many troubles and gave the best treatment possible.
Let me not forget my family who suffered and attended many, many, long waits for appointments and tests and the tense waiting for the cancer to subside. I will keep it short. But the first time was standard regime of chemotherapy over 6 months. Then a year off the treatments and the cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer came back with a vengeance even after being clear on scans a year before. i went through more chemo not working so high dose chemotherapy in the hospital with almost no amount of immunity left. Radiation was done to the chest area with a specialized laser.
Finally an autologous stem cell bone marrow transplant that was successful. They almost didn’t harvest enough of my own stem-cell to do the treatment but just enough to make it. A long slow burn recovery followed. With disorientation to regular life and building stamina and strength slowly over time, I built up towards full recovery. I did have one more medical issue a knee infection due to low immunity that required an operation affecting the patella but I did not contract the disease that was originally found, San Joaquin Valley Fever. Strange what happens when the body declines?
In the end, I chose life. The support of family and a miracle worker physician was more than I can repay. Every decision and next step my family was right there caretaking and doing everything possible for a positive outcome. I enjoy such good vibrant health today (11 years later), I could not be more grateful. Thanks for listening; I wish every cancer sufferer and survivor, the best possible outcome and all the best things in this life. Peace & Love, Jennifer Lingo