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  • Molly Wood
    The family and friends of Molly Wood are uniting to raise money to help in her battle against Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Please read on for an update on Molly’s health. Molly was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in late 2010. After completing chemotherapy in the fall of 2011, Molly was cancer-free. Of course, her doctors continued to monitor Molly and last July they detected a new mass in her chest that appeared near her windpipe. Initially, they were not too concerned as the mass appeared to be exceptionally slow-growing. Following her most recent PET scan and a successful tissue biopsy, they have determined that the mass is cancerous and she has been diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma - there appears to be no cancerous growth in her bone marrow this time.

    Molly has met with her oncologist who has proposed a treatment plan that, while extremely rigorous, is also highly successful in treating recurrent Hodgkin’s. In addition to chemotherapy, Molly would also undergo a bone marrow transplant. The biggest drawback to this is that following the bone marrow transplant, Molly will not be able to receive chemotherapy treatment in the future should she ever need to. Due to this new development, she will be going to the Mayo clinic in Rochester, MN to get a second opinion. She may also seek a third opinion from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

    Molly will be unable to work during this time as she is traveling to get additional opinions from other doctors as well as once she begins the chosen course of treatment. As before, we are hoping to alleviate some of the burdens and stresses of her medical expenses. With your help, we can alleviate the financial responsibilities so that Molly can focus on once again being cancer-free!

  • Want to learn more?

    The following are resources to help you learn more about Hodgkin's Lymphoma and the fight to find a cure

    American Cancer Society
    Leukemia-Lymphoma Society
    Mayo Clinic
    National Cancer Institute
    curehodgkins.com
    Lymphoma Research Foundation
    lymphomainfo.net
    Hodgkin's Lymphoma Wikipedia Page

  • Updates

  • Jan.27.2014 at 11:01 AM
    PLAN OF ATTACK

    Hello -

    After months of deliberation and numerous opinions from various doctors, I have decided upon a treatment method. I will be going to a clinic in Tijuana, MX to see Dr. Castillo, a well-known alternative/conventional oncologist, who treats cancer patients from all over the world. I am leaving Sunday, February 16th and returning on Wednesday, March 19th. I will be receiving treatments in the form of low-dose chemo, vitamin C infusions, detoxes (many methods), supplements, diet changes, oxygen therapy, and hyperbaric chamber therapy. I will be at the clinic every day (except Sundays) for several hours each day. He will be monitoring my progress with CT scans and bloodwork. My mother will be traveling with me and will stay for the duration of my treatment so that I don’t have to go alone. I haven’t yet decided if I will be staying at a hotel in Tijuana or with my brothers who live in San Diego. I guess it may depend upon how difficult it is to cross the border twice a day.

    When treatment is over, I will come back home for 3 months and follow the diet and supplement plan that he administers. I will then go back to see him for 10 more days of treatment. During this time, he will reassess my condition and give me his opinion on how I should proceed from there.

    I am excited to start treatment and also to get away from this polar vortex for a month. I am very hopeful that this will be the cure that I am looking for. It may require a major lifestyle change, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to be cancer-free once and for all…and do what is needed to avoid a bone marrow transplant.

    Thank you for all your prayers, messages, donations and words of encouragement. I cannot stress enough how much your support means to me – it truly gives me strength. Wish me luck in Mexico & to coming home cancer-free!

    I will be in touch as much as possible. Love you all.

     

    Jan.06.2014 at 12:26 PM
    RECENT CT

    Hello -

    I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Both holidays were good for me as I was able to spend time with family and friends.

    Last Thursday I went back to Iowa City for a CT scan and an appointment with my oncologist. It had been about 5 months since my previous CT. The scan last week showed no growth in the sizes of the masses since August. They have been stable for the past several months, which is good news. My cough has seemed to become less frequent, too. After reviewing my CT, my doctor told me she felt comfortable allowing me a few months to try other (and alternative) methods. She still feels a bone marrow transplant should be my course of treatment, but I told her that option was my Plan B. I want to have complete peace of mind before undergoing something so drastic and radical.

    I have been in touch with a doctor from Tijuana, Mexico who treats cancer patients with both chemo (low doses) and alternative methods. I am strongly considering this as an option. I have always felt that a combination therapy is something in which I would be interested. There is also a clinic in Mesa, AZ that performs similar treatments as Mexico. These programs would be all out-of-pocket as insurance would not cover much, if any, of the associated costs. I am still deliberating on which route to take, but will be making a decision sooner than later.

    Thanks for keeping in touch and for checking in on me. As always, it’s your support that keeps me fighting and in good spirits. I will let you all know my final decision soon.

    Love you.

    Dec.04.2013 at 10:48 AM
    BIOPSY CONCLUSIVE

    Hello -

    I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving and were able to spend quality time with family and friends. I have finally received the results of my latest biopsy. Omaha confirmed that I do indeed have recurrent Hodgkin’s. They were able to get enough tissue via video mediastinoscopy to conclude this with 100% certainty. There was scar tissue in the area, but my surgeon was able to go very slowly and deliberately to get the sample we needed. I was in recovery for a little longer than expected because I kept getting sick from the anesthesia medicines. My neck was sore for a few days afterward, but the swelling has gone down and I am not in any pain now.

    I am still in deliberation on how I would like to proceed with treatment from here. The next step with conventional medicine would be the stem cell/bone marrow transplant. However, I have been exploring alternative methods and may choose to go down this path for a few months. I am essentially asymptomatic (with the exception of a slight, nagging cough) and feel very good. My thought is to pursue the alternative option for a limited amount of time and request another CT to determine it’s effectiveness. I would like to avoid a transplant if at all possible, especially knowing that conventional medicine didn’t really work for me in the past. I was treated but I was not cured.

    I feel like there are so many opinions, views, methods, etc and there is no clear-cut answer for me. I know that I cannot wait too long to make a decision or to proceed with treatment, but there is still so much I need to sort out. I will definitely keep you all updated with my decisions. Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers; I truly appreciate all the messages and support I get from each of you.

    Love,

    Molly

    Nov.20.2013 at 10:39 AM
    BIOPSY SCHEDULED

    Hello -

    After many weeks of waiting on slides to be sent from the U of IA and to be stained by Omaha, the pathologists at the U of NE have concluded that while my most recent biopsy is suspicious for Hodgkin’s, they cannot determine it with 100% certainty. Therefore, I will need yet another biopsy to figure out once and for all (hopefully) what is growing inside my chest.

    Yesterday I spoke with the thoracic surgeon at Omaha who would be performing my biopsy, which is called a ‘video mediastinoscopy.’ She would make a 1-2 inch incision at the base of my neck and maneuver a scope and camera to the enlarged mass. Then she would remove a large sample (or many large samples) with forceps instead of a needle. This biopsy technique seems much more promising than the fine-needle aspirations I have had in the past because it will allow us to get a much larger tissue sample. The previously inconclusive results are due to the surgeons not being able to remove enough tissue.

    This biopsy is scheduled for this Friday. I will be in surgery for about an hour and then be in recovery for about 2 hours and then be allowed to go home once I feel OK.

    This entire biopsy is based on the premise that there is no scar tissue from my previous surgery that would be in her way. If there is scar tissue in the area that she needs to be, then she would not be able to perform this surgery. She did mention another approach that would involve a very long needle going through my right side. In order to do this, they would have to deflate my right lung and I would be in the hospital for 3 days with a chest tube and I would need a full 2 weeks to recover. I am not on-board with this method, so let’s all hope and pray that the video mediastinoscopy is successful!

    Thanks again for checking in and I will let you all know how surgery goes this Friday! Love you all.

    Oct.22.2013 at 2:21 PM
    OMAHA RESULTS

    Hello -

    I met with Dr. Vose on Friday afternoon & she spoke with me regarding my options from this point forward. Her professional opinion is that my next treatment should be an autologous bone marrow transplant. This corresponds with what the doctor at Mayo told me a few weeks ago. However, she feels that before I start the transplant, I may need another biopsy to 100% confirm the Hodgkin’s diagnosis. There is still a bit of speculation regarding my most recent biopsy & in order to get a concrete diagnosis, we need to get a bigger tissue sample from the masses in my chest. She recommeded a biopsy in which a thoracic surgeon would make an incision in my neck above my breastbone & get at the mass with a larger needle.

    This week, her and 8 other lymphoma specialists will be looking at my most recent biopsy slides & if they can’t make a Hodgkin’s diagnosis with complete certainty, then another biopsy is in my near future. It is unlikely for these masses to be anything other than Hodgkin’s, but before I start an intense treatment process like the transplant, I want to know, without a shadow of a doubt, what I’m fighting.

    I should be getting a phone call by the end of this week with her consensus regarding my slides and her recommendation from this point forward. Wish me luck & thanks for checking in!

    Oct.17.2013 at 3:13 PM
    OMAHA OPINION

    Hello -

    I just wanted to let you all know that my Omaha appointment is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I meet with Dr. Julie Vose, who is supposed to be one of the leading lymphoma doctors in the nation. It sounds like I will be in good hands. I will be sure to let you know how the appointment goes & what she recommends from this point forward.

    Love you & thanks for checking in. More to come soon.

    Oct.07.2013 at 8:11 PM
    HERE WE GO AGAIN

    Hello Everyone -

    As many of you may have discovered, my website was down for several months because of various reasons, one being that my condition was pretty stable & there was not really a reason for any further updates. Unfortunately, that has all recently changed.

    In August 2013, my routine CT scan showed that the mass along the right side of my windpipe had tripled in size & was now penetrating the root of my right lung. From July 2012 – February 2013, the mass was a constant size – no growth whatsoever. My doctor felt comfortable giving me 6 months between scans & during this time, the original one grew & a new mass formed on the left side of my windpipe. This was obviously a cause for concern, so a week later, I had a needle biopsy & a PET scan.

    They retrieved enough tissue from the biopsy to determine that the masses were conclusive for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The PET scanned showed that the disease was localized to my chest & not in my bone marrow this time; therefore, my new diagnosis is Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

    Following this news, my doctor talked to me about treatment options. She said the best option for someone in my position would be an autologous bone marrow transplant. This process has proven to be successful for patients who have had recurrent lymphoma. They would give me 2 rounds of agressive chemo (called ICE), remove & freeze stem cells from my hips, give me several weeks of high-intensity, very aggressive chemo, then put those stem cells back into my body. This process would essentially reboot my immune system with the intent of wiping out the cancer completely. All in all, this process would take roughly 5 months: 2 months for the 1st 2 rounds of chemo, 1 month for the actual transplant process, & 2 months for recovery.

    In light of this new development, I opted to get a 2nd opinion at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in hope of finding a less rigorous treatment method. My appointment was last Thursday with a lymphoma specialist. He was very thorough with me & answered all of my questions in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner. He met with me on Thursday, ordered blood work, & met with me again on Friday to review everything we had talked about. He agreed with the U of IA in that the next step should be a bone marrow transplant & we discussed that process in great detail.

    I am also looking into getting another opinion with a highly-respected lymphoma doctor at the University of NE at Omaha. This appointment is currently in the works.

    I will be sure to keep you updated with the Omaha opinion & what course of treatment I choose to pursue. It sounds like it’s going to be a long road ahead for me but I fully intend on fighting through this in the same manner as I did the first time. Thank you all for checking in with me & for your continued love & support. I truly couldn’t do this without you!

    Love,

    Molly

     

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    To mail cards, letters or a donation by check, please send to Molly at:

    15673 Beaverdale Rd.
    Danville, IA 52623

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