Breast cancer survivor offers wisdom at Faulkner satellite center
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Poet Richard Fox gains insight – and material – through cancer treatment
A family faces cancer in an unfamiliar city – with help
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Jeff's targeted therapy has kept his advanced lung cancer at bay.
Every year, thousands of Dana-Farber patients pass through the Institute's doors with inspiring stories of struggle, strength, hope, and perseverance. Here are just a few of those stories.
As a non-smoker, Joann Totten never imagined she would be diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, let alone at age 50. But that's what happened on Aug. 5, 2015, just six weeks after she started experiencing a non-productive cough.
Active in physical pursuits and a world traveler, Harry Beskind, MD, was surprised when he started feeling tired while on a bike ride. He had just returned home from a river trip to Portugal with his wife, and Beskind, then 82, was having trouble riding up hills on his bike.
Before her diagnosis, Kathleen was active — working, volunteering, exercising, and spending time with friends. Then some bruising and fatigue led her to her doctor. She was expecting to have anemia, like her sister. But that appointment turned into an emergency room visit that became a 45-day hospital stay.
The day after his 45th birthday, serious abdominal pain brought Chris to the emergency room, where they found a mass in his colon. He was diagnosed as stage IIIa colon cancer. Chris was on the road to recovery after 12 chemotherapy treatments at Dana-Farber, but his six-month follow up showed bad news: The cancer had spread to his liver.
Poet Richard Fox began treatment at Dana-Farber for throat and tongue cancer on Feb. 2, 2010, his 57th birthday. It took 16 months of chemotherapy, radiation, and recovery until he felt well enough to write poetry again — and when he did, he quickly found that his experience had a powerful influence on his prose.
Breast cancer survivor Debbie Dorsey looks back on her time as a patient in 1998, remembering the care she received and how she dealt with her anxiety through filmmaking and humor.
Jenna Shaw, 29, of Blaine, Maine, had been feeling sick for many months after her daughter, Madeline, was born in 2009. She lost 70 pounds in seven months and was fatigued from sore throats and infections.
When Michael Selsman came home from his morning jog two years ago, he noticed a lump on his chest. It was strange, because he'd never seen it before, but he figured it was probably just an irritation. A couple of weeks passed, and the lump grew larger.
As a physician who spent years treating blood cancer patients, Steven Weinreb, MD, knows the important role that stem cell transplants play. But he never thought he'd undergo one himself — or experience the side effects.
Ellen Collins, a Colorado native with a successful career in national sales at Vail Resorts, was raising two young children when she was diagnosed with stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer. Her care team gave her hope, and just a few years later, she met her surgeon at the top of Vail Mountain, cancer-free.
Rabbi Marc Samuels has faced many challenges in life, including Nazi concentration camps. Now, at 85, he is fighting a pre-leukemia condition called myelodysplastic syndrome, but considers himself lucky to have doctors from Dana-Farber's Older Adult Leukemia Program on his side.
Dr. Mark Weiner — a neurologist and avid cyclist — knew even before his CT scan that his symptoms were most likely the result of a brain tumor. He was right. Now, as a patient, he praises the teamwork and collaboration of his care team, and gives back by doing what he loves: riding his bike.
While seeking a second opinion after a throat cancer diagnosis, Ali Abbas Ali found a team approach that went beyond innovative treatment, emphasizing a full spectrum of care and support that includes speech therapy, psychosocial services, nutrition, and pain management.
An increasing elderly population means more people live with cancer in their 80s or 90s – or beyond – like 102-year-old Bill Gurney. Researchers and doctors are working to adjust treatments accordingly.
Dana-Farber employees who are also cancer survivors have a special understanding of the patient experience – and a deep appreciation for the Institute's mission.
From a registry of seven million donors, Annette was a perfect match for Bob. And three years after the transplant that cured Bob's advanced myelodysplasic syndrome, he met the woman whose stem cells saved his life.
Rather than being shy about facing male breast cancer, Michael Johnston is embracing the opportunity to speak out about a disease that will affect 1,910 men this year.
After 250 donations, Blake is now challenging his colleagues to give platelet donation a try. "If everyone would just do it once then we'd have what we need to help patients," he says.
Margie Needelman, one of Dana-Farber's early autologous bone marrow transplant patients, was back at the Institute to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her transplant.
While Paul Keane hopes that participating in clinical trials will lead to a cure for his multiple myeloma, he takes some comfort in knowing his efforts will help others no matter the outcome.
Cancer survivor Bill Hallahan knew almost nothing about the person who had saved his life. He hadn't even learned his bone marrow donor's name until one year after the transplant. But when he entered a Boston-area hotel last month for a celebration of marrow and stem cell donors, he spotted a 30-something man waiting in the lobby with his wife, and immediately sensed this was him.
Seventeen years ago, he was told he had multiple myeloma and three years to live – at the most. Thanks to experimental treatments in clinical trials at Dana-Farber, today he leads an active life.
After donating stem cells to cure her brother's leukemia and supporting her sister through breast cancer, this woman learns she has non-Hodgkins lymphoma and faces a stem cell transplant of her own.
A stem cell donor and the recipient of her cells take turns telling their intertwined story – and explain how it felt when they met for the first time one year later.
During his wife's acute myelogenous leukemia treatment, Henry King found many reasons to be grateful to Dana-Farber's staff – and many ways to give back to the organization that cared for both of them.
Kelley Tuthill discovered integrative therapies as a way to help her juggle her breast cancer treatment with her roles as journalist, wife, and mother of two children under 5.
Dana-Farber transplant physician Robert Soiffer, MD, explains why making a stem cell donation is not just a generous gift – it's a life-changing, heroic act.
Read Pediatric Patient Stories