In December 2010, I went to the doctor after noticing a lump near my collar bone. He said it was a cyst and I’d need to have it removed. But a few days later my doctor called to tell me the lab results showed I had non-Hodgkin lymphoma stage 3. Telling my wife the news when she arrived home from work that evening was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do.
Over the next several months I underwent six cycles of chemotherapy at Goshen Center for Cancer Care. Everyone was really there to help me through. All the physicians and nurses were wonderful. It was so scary to start chemotherapy, but everyone made me feel so safe. My care team included Dr. Kio the medical oncologist who supervised my chemotherapy, Becky Overholt my dietitian, Rita Gingrich my counselor and Brita Mutti my naturopathic doctor. Things were starting to look up and I was nearly through my treatment when Marie began to have health issues.
I started having horrible pain in my abdomen and finally went to see my doctor who referred me to a specialist. The specialist drained a large amount of fluid from my abdomen and sent it for testing. Once again we received news that neither of us were expecting. In June of 2011, I was told I had ovarian cancer stage 3.
Since Duane was being treated at Goshen, I decided I would too. Before long I started chemotherapy and then had surgery on October 18, 2011. Because I had already missed so much work due to Duane’s appointments, my employer said I had only a week to get back to work or I’d lose my job. Still recuperating from surgery and in need of three more chemotherapy treatments, I wasn’t able to return to work and lost my job.
After I lost my job, which had been our only income other than Duane’s Social Security, we didn’t know how we would continue to afford paying for our naturopathic supplements, supplements that strengthened our hearts and our immune systems, which are both very important when going through cancer treatment. Britta suggested I talk to Sandra Carbone about the Patient Supplement Fund. Thankfully we both qualified for assistance and the fund provided our supplements at no cost.
It’s been quite a journey together. It’s changed our relationship and made us more in love than we’ve ever been. Duane is now in what’s called the maintenance stage and has an infusion every eight weeks, and I am cancer free. We’re celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this year and looking forward to whatever life brings our way.