stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)
It was 2020, and besides the obvious chaos in the world, at that time my life was going great. My business was thriving, I had just gotten engaged, and my fiancée and I were beginning to talk about starting a family. I was at what felt like the peak of my life. Everything was going my way, or so I thought.
When I arrived home from my engagement trip in November 2020, something did not feel right. I started to get sick all the time. After going to the doctor almost a dozen times that year and repeatedly being told it was just the flu or COVID, my mind and body finally could not handle it. My worsening health condition forced me to shut down my business and take a new job. This was already crushing as I had worked for over a decade to get to where I was. After three short months at my new job and two weeks after my long-anticipated wedding, FINALLY, my concerns were heard. I convinced an on-call doctor to investigate further and take an X-ray of my lungs. I left the office, and about a minute later I got the call. I will never forget the tone and demeanor of the doctor that day. He explained how they had found multiple large masses in my lungs and mediastinal. From this point, the diagnosis process took quite a while. It would be months and multiple biopsies before I officially got diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) in May 2021.
From this point on, it all felt like a race. I once heard someone else explain it like this. I was in the car at a NASCAR pit stop, and everyone was just swarming around me, changing my tires and adjusting this or that just to send me on my way. At the time, I was in and out of the hospital for biopsies, chemotherapies, doctor appointments, specialist visits, scans, procedures, and of course pharmacies. After all of this, my disease still entered the refractory stage. My cancer had spread from my lungs and lymph nodes to my spine. The cancer was so severe, it fractured several vertebrae and ultimately led me to have a spinal fusion. My cancer was now classified as stage 4, and the next step and seemingly last line of defense was an autologous bone marrow transplant. Honestly, at this point, I was having a really hard time continuing to fight and truly thought I was done for.
I am happy to say that the procedure was a success, and I am officially in remission as of May 2022. I absolutely could not have gotten through all of this without the support of my incredible wife Erica, my family, my friends, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). I cannot stress enough how critical it is to have a support system around when you go through something like this. Aside from all those around me, I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to LLS.
After a brief introduction and some easy paperwork, I was a recipient of multiple LLS grants. These grants helped me with a lot of medical bills, which is the last thing you and your family want to deal with when fighting cancer. To this day, my family and I lean on LLS’s continued support and resources. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be here today.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey. To anyone currently fighting or who has been affected in some way by this terrible disease, you are not alone, and you've got this! On behalf of the Seymour Soldiers team, thank you so much for your support toward this great cause! Now let’s go Shred the Red!