Wednesday: Day 175 Post SCT

"Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them." - Orison Swett Marden

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Wednesday, Feb. 13, marks day 175 since my stem cell transplant. It is also less than a month before the second anniversary of the first appearance of the tumors that signaled the start of this bout with mantle cell lymphoma. This has been a journey like none other. And we are happy to report on this date that we are cancer-free and well on the road to better health!


A week ago Friday, we visited City of Hope and received the confirmation that our last CT scan was negative with no sign of the lymphoma and our blood counts were all good. So much progress has been made that Dr. Nakamura has cut back our regular visits to once a month.


These good developments far exceed the original expectations, but fulfill our hopes and prayers.


And speaking of hope, we discovered the following cancer survivor story in a City of Hope newsletter. This patient's story is very similar to my own and I offer it as another example of how, today, a cancer diagnosis can be handled with courage and determination and the outcomes can be life-extending.

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Even when her son's survival became a literal one-in-a-million chance, Pat Perrott never gave up hope.

The fact that her son is alive and healthy today shows how ... support of City of Hope helps people beat the odds every day.

Matthew Phelan was diagnosed with T-lymphoblastic lymphoma in 1990. He became extremely ill and lost 100 pounds. Every doctor he saw said nothing could be done. But Matthew and his mother Pat wouldn't accept that. On a friend's recommendation, they came to City of Hope.


Pablo Parker, M.D., in [the] department of hematology and hematopoietic cell transplantation, didn't accept it either.

Dr. Parker explained that if a suitable donor could be found, Matthew might be a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. Even then, he only gave Matthew a 15 percent chance of survival. But 15 percent sounded a lot better than zero.

As it turned out, the key statistic was one in a million: When Matthew's blood-test data was compared to the million names then in the National Bone Marrow Registry, there was only one potential match! (There are more than five million potential donors in the Registry today.)

When the anonymous donor had her marrow harvested on the East Coast, Barbara, City of Hope's bone marrow coordinator, was waiting. She flew home with Matthew's future in a small bag on her lap.


Sixteen years after his transplant, Matthew is living proof that a dedicated team can beat the odds. Matthew's team consisted of himself, his family and friends, and City of Hope's doctors, nurses and technicians.

And when he graduated from college, one more name was added to the list: Matthew's family flew his bone marrow donor to California as a surprise guest at his graduation party!

"If there's one thing that distinguishes City of Hope," Pat says, "it's that they never give up."
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