Hodgkins Lymphoma Game Over: Diane Paradise Chose Cord Blood Over Bone Marrow Transplant and Chemo (Part 2: #WeCanICan Series)
Deathly sick with Hodgkins Lymphoma and facing the 5th recurrence of the disease, Diane Paradise pushed doctors to help her. Educated about her options and her own body, she opted to participate in a clinical trial with cord blood instead of pursuing the usual bone marrow transplant and extended chemotherapy. This was a choice she does not regret. Diane is living proof that #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood.
At Save the Cord Foundation, we consider it an honor to meet cancer survivors like Diane Paradise. Each time we hear of someone’s personal fight against this terrible disease we get emotional. This is as human as it gets. A patient desperate for a solution only to be told that there is no cure. A doctor trying their best to help with the means they have. Everyone crossing their fingers that this time it is going to work.
Diane Paradise has been down this road too many times. She remembers her initial shock in 1994 when she was initially diagnosed with Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease. She was 24 and her life was about to change forever.
It all started with a lump under her arm. The doctor tested it and the results said it was benign. Five months later as second lump had formed. This time, the diagnosis was clear. It was December 1994 and doctors started her on 6 months of chemotherapy followed by 6 weeks of radiation. She suffered the side effects. . .nausea, vomiting, days and days of soreness associated with chemotherapy. In addition, the radiation treatment left her with 3rd degree burns.
Diane never stopped working during this time. She was determined to not slow down and it seemed the treatments were a success. She went into remission for 6 years.
Then, in 2001, during an annual check-up, her doctors gave her bad news. The cancer was back and this time the doctors said it was worse. They told her it was incurable. She was advised that they could try a bone marrow transplant but that she would also need 10 months of chemotherapy.
Diane refused to give up. She had learned a lot about Hodgkins Lymphoma by this point. She also knew how her body reacted to the chemo and radiation. She was leery of how well she could handle the chemotherapy. She sought out alternatives to the recommended bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. Her search led her to Arizona where she entered a clinic to undergo a naturopathic treatment protocol.
This alternative treatment was successful at keeping the cancer at bay for several years. However, in 2005, she regrettably found herself sick again. She promptly underwent Rituxin therapy and appeared to be getting better.
Time passed and Diane began to rebuild her life. Yet, in 2008, the cancer raised its ugly head again for a 4th time. With the guidance of her conventional oncologist, Diane continued with her alternative treatment of diet, supplements and high dose vitamin C for two years under the watchful eye of her oncologist. She was a model patient and again she managed to keep it under control during this watch and wait period.
Suddenly it shifted and during round 4, she learned it had metastasized into her bone marrow. She was wheelchair bound and underwent another round of chemotherapy and Rituxin until early 2011. She went into remission again according to her oncologist. Relieved, she started to return to life “as normal” and moved back to the East coast to be with her husband who had been transferred earlier that year.
In 2012, she saw her doctors for a check-up and they told her the cancer was back for a 5th time. She immediately began a regimen of Rituxin again combined with Bendamustine. When these treatments showed no signs working effectively, the doctor informed her that there were no other options. She did not recommend a bone marrow transplant because she did not think Diane would survive it.
Frustrated, Diane decided it was time to find a new doctor. One who wasn’t quite as willing to give up. She started with a local cancer center where they were not only willing to continue treating her, but also recommended she search out some larger cancer hospitals who specialized in research. Her doctor at the cancer center wanted her to explore all possible options. . . . Click here to continue reading.
In addition the materials provided by Save the Cord Foundation, we invite you to discover the numerous tools and fact sheets on cancer awareness, prevention and treatment provided in association with World Cancer Day.
Click here to find out how you can help build awareness of innovative treatments using cord blood.
Read part one in our #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series where we introduce to 3-time cancer survivor, Nathan Mumford (better known as “3-Peat”). Like Diane, Nathan defied the odds thanks to cord blood.