A mother of three shares her CAR T-cell therapy journey

[email protected] September 13, 2022

Kelly was about to go on a trip to celebrate her 25th birthdaye wedding anniversary when she started having pain in her abdomen and discovered a lump in her neck. When the pain progressed to the point where it got worse when she lay down, she asked her husband, an emergency doctor, what he thought. After a few phone calls to her colleagues working in oncology, they went to see a lymphoma specialist and Kelly underwent a CT scan the day before her trip.

The doctor called Kelly and her husband while on vacation and told them they needed to talk when he got back. Kelly says she “just knew” it was cancer. When he returned from the trip, he was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“It was upsetting. Your whole world is collapsing,” she explains. “When cancer strikes, nothing else matters.”

Kelly received six cycles of chemotherapy – one cycle every three weeks. But soon after the chemotherapy treatments ended, her pain returned. His cancer had not responded to initial treatment. Kelly’s oncologist then recommended a different, stronger chemotherapy regimen, but her cancer did not respond to the second treatment.

After two treatment failures, Kelly’s oncologist introduced her to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy: a form of therapy tailored to each patient using their own immune cells to fight their cancer. She was optimistic and agreed to pursue CAR T with the support of her oncologist.

After CAR T-cell therapy in 2021, Kelly did not require further cancer treatment. It was the first sign of relief for Kelly and her family since the diagnosis. Her children believe that staying positive has helped them through this ordeal.

“No matter how bad it gets, never give up. Hope is the only thing that keeps you going,” Kelly says.

Watch the video above to see Kelly’s full journey.

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