[email protected] –07 April 2022
Julie and her husband Bob were enjoying being empty nests and preparing to go on a beach vacation when Julie started to feel sick. A few weeks before the trip, Julie’s symptoms – a dry cough and shortness of breath – worsened, so she checked herself into an urgent care center near their home in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania.
“I was first diagnosed with walking pneumonia and made the trip,” says Julie. “But when we got back, I knew something was going on longer than expected.”
After consulting her attending physician, Julie underwent a CT scan. Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 2018, Julie was diagnosed with advanced stage large B-cell lymphoma, the most common type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Each person’s treatment journey is different. In Julie’s case, she underwent six months of chemotherapy, then just six months later her cancer returned. Dr. Alison Sehgal, Julie’s hematologist at the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), said she needed another treatment quickly.
“Julie had an aggressive disease,” says Alison. “He came back early from his initial chemotherapy and these are the people for whom stem cell transplantation is not ideal.”
Julie received chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in June 2019, and she has not needed further cancer treatment since.
Last year, Julie’s two sons celebrated life milestones – one went to college and the other got married.
“I put the wedding up there as one of the best days of my life,” Julie says. “You want to share important moments in your children’s lives, and now I can help them with anything. It is truly a blessing.
Watch the video above to see Julie’s full story.