One MCL survivor to another

As a cancer survivor, specifically mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) since April 2006, I am a grateful member of the ACOR Listserv (link below), a member-survivor-only message board that daily sends numerous updates from members. This one from MCL survivor Jim Bridgman was particularly worthy of archive status:

"I met a neighbor at the mailboxes on the corner one day. He lived less than a half mile away in our rural setting. Walter told me that he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and when I asked him what type, he said mantle cell. He had already been getting treatment and was getting ready to go in for an Auto transplant.

"I went and visited him in the hospital during the transplant and soon he was out. We became pretty good friends. I believe his remission was less that two years and during that time his high school sweetheart wife died suddenly in his arms one night.

"At that point, I believe Walter lost the will to live. He relapsed and I drove him and attended all his doctor visits and treatments. We were like a couple of class clowns during those visits and kept the hospital staff in stitches.

"When he would have tremors from the Rituxan, I would tell him afterward that he looked like bacon frying. There was some debate about him doing an allogeneic transplant and the ultimate decision was up to him.

"After much conversation, Walter decided to go ahead with it and they did an unrelated donor transplant. After the transplant, Walters marrow would never produce enough blood cells and they were giving him blood a couple of times a week.

"Finally they gave him a choice of whether he wanted to keep on doing that, because it would eventually fail. He opted to stop the transfusion and go home. I visited him ever day as his health declined. It was about a week before Walter was taken home to be with the Lord. I am incredibly grateful and honored for the time we had as friends."

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