Alice Kelly

I lost 80 lbs and was in the best shape of my life when I noticed a small lump on my chest. Thinking it was just my bone, I didn’t pay it much attention. I began to get shortness of breath and went to the allergist twice before she recommended a chest x-Ray.

I went to get the X-ray and before I could leave the tech told me to head to the ER because it looked like there was fluid in my left lung. I checked in immediately and they began sending me for more tests. First they said it was swelling in my mediastinum. Then it was a mass, then a tumor. I was admitted to the hospital for a biopsy and, since they were 99% sure it was Hodgkins Disease, I had the chemo port placed at the same time. They also had to drain 300cc’s of fluid from around my heart. Turned out the tumor was sitting on my heart and my heart was rubbing on my left lung, causing the fluid there as well.

The cancer cells weren’t showing up in the biopsy due to the large amount of inflammatory cells, so, I waited a week for immuno-stain biopsy testing, all the while not sure if I had cancer or a rare auto-immune disease that presented like Hodgkins.

Final diagnosis: Hodgkins Lymphoma.

I began the ABVD chemo regimen the following week and after 4 treatments there was still a small amount of activity in the middle of my tumor. Due to the bulkiness of the tumor, we decided to go 4 more treatments. After that, it was determined that the chemo was no longer working as I had more activity in new places.

That’s when I switched to Penn to see Dr. Svoboda for three rounds of ICE and then a round of High Dose Chemotherapy with Stem Cell Rescue. I have just begun day 3 of the High Dose Chemo, so, hopefully the rest of the treatment goes well and I recover quickly!

I can’t wait to get back to a normal life of beach time, friend and family time, trips with my niece and nephews, exercising and just having fun without being sick! I’m so lucky to have been able to switch to Penn and get this chance!

I also can’t wait to get more involved with Headstrong! The work they do is amazing and I would be honored to help in any way I could!