Cancer Sucks

John Mark was diagnosed with Stage IV NLPHL (Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) in January 2023.

After experiencing a strange pain in his lower left back in late October 2022, the doctor began testing for suspected kidney stones. After months of tests and biopsies, cancer entered the conversation due to several highly enlarged lymph nodes in the abdomen, particularly around the spine.

We have found a doctor at UAB that is well-versed in this particular, rare cancer. The remission rate is very high and we are nothing but hopeful.

We are fortunate that John Mark can have his chemotherapy infusions done locally. We are lucky to have jobs that are understanding and supportive.

So here we go on this part of the journey!

We would appreciate your thoughts, prayers, 🙏🏼 well wishes, and good vibes. 😎

We will pause from social while we get through this to focus all our energies on John Mark’s healing and our strength. 🥰

Thank you for your support and love- and Cancer Sucks!

A NLPHL Cancer Journey:

Late October pain begins intermittently.

November 14th- Visits family practice, they take an X-ray, and send for a CAT scan.

November 16th-Results of CAT scan indicate swollen lymph nodes. 1st biopsy ordered.

November 18th- First biopsy procedure at EAMC.

November 29th- 1st biopsy results come back benign. But they want us to meet with an oncologist. We are so confused.

December 1st- We meet doctor at Spencer Cancer Center. He tells us the extensive sizes and amounts of swollen lymph nodes in abdomen are a sign of something. Most likely lymphoma of some kind or Castleman’s disease.

December 14- PET Scan procedure done. *moved up from 12/23.

December 16- Doctor says bad news, cancer is not limited to abdomen. Good news, they think they can get a biopsy in another spot easier. They are also seeing cancer in neck area.

December 29th- 2nd biopsy at EAMC

January 9th- Appointment with oncologist. He sends us to UAB.

(8 weeks-56 days)

Diagnosis: Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Referred to UAB. Very rare at this age. Accounts for less than 5% of lymphoma cases.

Chemotherapy is most likely treatment plan.

Told today that chemo will knock it back, but it will slowly come back and chemo will be needed again.

January 19th- Appointment at UAB. We finally know what stage and have a treatment plan. Spirits were high today.

January 26th- Chemo Port surgery. This is getting real. Emotions were high today.

February 16- 1st Round of R-Chop. We had a tribe of supporters show up. It was good for John Mark to see how much he is loved and supported.

We are fortunate that the doctors at UAB were able to send John Mark’s treatment plan to the Spencer Cancer Center in Opelika. The convenience is wonderful and the facility is top-notch. The staff made our 9 hour day a a good one.

February 17- Feeling good after his chemo yesterday. Doctors say it will take a few days for symptoms to worsen, but we are hopeful that John Mark will have minimal negative side effects. We proactively trimmed his hair today. He had very long healthy hair, so this allows us to donate the hair to Wigs For Kids and also ease into coming chemo hair loss.

March 3rd: We had a date night tonight. Spirits are good! Thank y’all for the prayers!

March 9th- 2nd Round of Chemotherapy at the Spencer Cancer Center in Opelika. This time John Mark’s best friend for life, Jeff Gibby, joined him for his chemo-infusions. This allowed me to continue working and save what little leave I have. We are still very cautious right now with everything. Hoping for the best, but planning for if things aren’t great.

Dr. Johnson visited with John Mark during this second round and was very astonished at how well John Mark has been handling chemotherapy so far. Mild symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and some intermittent pain, but John Mark has said numerous times that the symptoms he is experiencing are far less worse than the pain he had from the enlarged lymph nodes. This is making us very hopeful that the treatment is working!

March 11th- Date Night with friends- We enjoyed a chill, but fun night with life-long friends Patrick and Ashley Skelton. We enjoyed some wine and a great dinner at The Depot in Auburn. Great to enjoy the moments John Mark feels good!

Check out John Mark’s Journal here:

6 thoughts on “Cancer Sucks

  1. Dang! Hate to hear this news!
    Sounds like you are in good hands!! 🙏🏻❤️
    Saying big prayers and following your journey!
    Hugs and toasts to you both!
    Kathi 💋❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Praying for a complete recovery and peace of mind as you go through this treatment. God is in control. Lots of love to you and Merideth as you journey through this difficult time.
    Lisa Butler

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Please ask God to forgive your sins.

    Lord we pray for John. We ask that you not take this special light from us. Just as Jesus asked that the cup be past from him, we ask the cup be passed from John. Let your will be down on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re both in my thoughts & prayers. Since I have so much flexibility I’m available to chauffeur JM to appointments. Please let me help any way I can

    Liked by 1 person

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