Our mom was 53, healthy, and an avid runner. She went through several years of subtle symptoms, which eventually led to multiple trips to the ER with stomach pains, having her lungs drained, and going home on oxygen. After consulting with several doctors, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Follicular Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in April of 2019. The doctors quickly formulated a treatment plan and she started two rounds of chemotherapy/immunotherapy. We were all excited about her plan, and we were told 90% of patients respond positively and go into remission. She was the 10%.
In October of 2019 she had completed her two rounds of chemotherapy/immunotherapy treatment, but she knew something wasn't right. A biopsy confirmed that she had Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), which is a very aggressive cancer, and commonly occurs after chemotherapy treatment. We were devastated, and she knew the next phase of chemotherapy was a very aggressive chemotherapy called R-Chop, in which she would begin to lose all of her hair.
On January 1, 2020, another PET scan confirmed that she was not in remission and she would start a short chemotherapy round on February 2020. Since the beginning of her diagnosis, our parents lived in New Plymouth, ID. They were very close to treatment centers, hospitals and pharmacies, but in April of 2020 they moved back to their roots in Howe, ID where she would be 1.5 hours from the closest treatment center.
Our mom had "problem" sites (groin and neck); those lymph nodes were in constant pain. We later found out these lymph nodes were pressing on nerves, which made them almost impossible to remove for comfort. On April 28th, 2020, her new doctor in Idaho Falls, ID started radiation on the problem sites (groin and neck). Her last radiation treatment ended on June 25, 2020 and her lymph nodes had finally begun to shrink. However, it wasn't much longer that she could feel the lymph nodes growing back.
In July of 2020 her doctor referred her to Intermountain LDS hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. After several tests, she became eligible for a new clinical treatment called Car T-Cell therapy. She started the treatment in August of 2020.
Our mom, as with all the other treatments, powered through with strength and grace with her faith. Her body was tired and weak, but her strength came from The Lord. After finishing the Car T-Cell Therapy she was monitored for a couple weeks and sent home with positive results; her blood work going up and the lymph nodes were shrinking.
In October 2020, she could feel the lymph nodes growing back and in November another PET scan and biopsy confirmed she was not in remission. Her doctors were confused and looked further into her case. What they found was devastating. She had a type of cancer that carried PDL-1, which allowed her cancer to hide from treatments.
She was now too weak to handle any more treatments, but she was never going to give up. Her doctor did not want to put her through any more chemo, so they decided to put her on a low-dose chemotherapy pill to help slow the growth and progression of the lymph nodes. Her "problem" lymph nodes were growing and causing so much pain that it was starting to debilitate her speech, arm and leg movement. It is then that we started looking into other treatment therapies; we all wish we had done that sooner.
We got in contact with Kay Blackburn ( ) who helped us get mom on an all-juicing diet, and other natural remedy strategies. Kay had a similar story as our mom and ended up beating cancer by healing her body naturally. From there we read several books, and found many resources ( )that brought back hope. In the meantime, our mom was fading quickly but doing her due diligence in juicing and getting her blood work to solid levels to start a new clinical therapy drug called Monjuvi.
Unfortunately, mom's insurance denied Monjuvi and we didn't have time to wait for approval. With the help of wonderful friends, we found a third party willing to take on mom's medical bills for Monjuvi. While waiting for her treatment to start, we furthered our research and found a holistic treatment center called Advanced Gerson Therapy Clinic ( ). The Gerson therapy is a comprehensive dietary and detoxification regimen that has been used to treat people with cancer and other degenerative diseases. Unfortunately, we were unable to get our mom to any holistic treatment center because of her uncontrollable pain and lack of mobility.
It was around mid March that we were introduced to BriO. BriO is a home health and hospice company out of Idaho Falls, ID and one of the few companies that would make the long trip to Howe, ID. We were blessed with BriO and
a wonderful hospice worker named Sara; they helped control our mom's pain and discomfort, which is something we could not do.
In March of 2020 in an effort to keep fighting and exhausting all treatment plans; our mom started the clinical therapy drug, Monjuvi. After the first week of Monjuvi, her blood work from juicing and the clean diet looked great, but her body was too tired.
She was able to complete 1.5 weeks of treatment before being admitted to the ER.
At this point, she wanted to be home. We put her in the car and BriO set her up to finish her last days at home. We all got to be with mom in her last days. Her faith, strength and hope was an example to all of us. Everyday she was ready to fight and took time to be with Jesus and journal. Her favorite verse was Psalm 23 and this charity is in her honor and for those who are fighting just like her.
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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."