Cancer Survivor Stories

Cancer survivor stories inspire resilience, highlighting the human spirit’s triumph over adversity. Each narrative embodies courage, perseverance, and hope amid the darkest of times. From diagnosis to remission, these tales illuminate the strength found in community support, medical advancements, and the sheer will to overcome life’s most formidable challenges.

Patient Testimonial Bjorn Simenson

Bjorn Simenson, Multiple Myeloma Survivor, Norway

67-year-old gentleman Bjørn Simensen presented to the hospital In September 2017 with complaints of cough and chest pain. During his workup, he was found to have multiple myeloma (IgG lambda) ISS-II. The patient was given 4 cycles of bortezomib, lenalidomide and dexamethasone chemotherapy. After 4 cycles, his M protein was less than 1g/l. The patient was then out on lenalidomide maintenance (10mg qdx3 weeks per month) that he continued for the next 2 years. He remained disease-free till the summer of 2021, when, during remission assessment, he was found to have raised M protein (5g/l). Lenalidomide was stopped and he was started on carfilzomib and daratumumab chemotherapy from October to December 2021. However, the chemotherapy was not effective, and post-chemo BM MRD was positive. 

Mr Bjørn Simensen was first seen at Lu Daopei Hospital on February 14, 2022. His BM MRD showed 0.25 per cent abnormal plasma cells. IEF showed IgG and M proteins were 3 g/l. PET-CT Scan showed increased uptake in the testis, especially the right one, which was also enlarged on examination. A testicular biopsy was carried out, which showed malignant plasma cells. The patient was selected for CART cell therapy. Preconditioning was done with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide for 3 days. CART Cells were infused on day 0 ( 4/3/2222). The dose given was 0.5X10^6 /kg. After infusion, patient had neutropenia fever, which was controlled with iv antibiotics. Right testicular swelling gradually reduced to normal size. On day 28, the BM examination was negative for plasma cells. The patient was discharged from Lu Daopei with regular follow-up in the hematology centre in his city.

Zainab, Leukemia Survivor, Pakistan

Zainab is a formidable woman. She is a 26-year-old individual hailing from Pakistan. What is the reason for my stating that she possesses strength? This is her narrative.

Every woman aspires to have a splendid wedding, and she was about to wed the man she adored. All aspects were flawless, and every individual was occupied with making arrangements for the wedding. Abruptly, a complete transformation occurred. 10 days prior to the wedding, she experienced pyrexia and discomfort in her abdomen. Upon arriving at the hospital, she held the expectation that her condition would be resolved with a prescription and cautionary advice from the doctor, allowing her to promptly return and relish in her wedding celebration.

However, on this occasion, the doctor conveyed a grave and earnest message, informing her that she had received a diagnosis of leukemia. Upon discovering her diagnosis of leukemia, she displayed resilience and fortitude. “I was slightly disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to fully experience my wedding due to the fact that it occurred only 10 days prior to my scheduled wedding day.” However, I was content and expressed gratitude to God for bestowing upon me such a splendid relationship, which coincidentally led to our wedding taking place on the same day. That is the information she conveyed to me.

“At the nearby hospital, the physician informed me of my prognosis: a mere month left to live. However, I persevered, as did my relatives and spouse.” They consistently provided unwavering support and empowered me to combat the leukemia. In addition to expressing gratitude towards my family members, I would also like to extend my appreciation to the organization that supports my medical care. We are members of a middle-class household in Pakistan, and we engage in several menial occupations to sustain our daily livelihood. We were unable to afford such a substantial sum. However, when Allah extends His assistance, He dispatches someone to provide support. The organization is named Bahria Town Pakistan.

Following two cycles of chemotherapy at a nearby medical facility, she sought additional medical care at Lu Daopei Hospital. Thanks to the hospital’s international center, her treatment proceeded without any complications. Her procedure has been successfully completed, and she will be able to return to her home country and embark on a fresh chapter of her life following a two-month recovery period.

Her message to fellow leukemia sufferers is clear: “We must embrace each moment of our lives as if it were our final one, and live it to the fullest extent.” It is universally acknowledged that mortality is an inevitable reality, and only God possesses knowledge of the precise timing of our demise. Strive to improve each day, constantly seeking opportunities to engage in meaningful actions that bring fulfillment, while actively avoiding negative behaviors. Furthermore, it is crucial to maintain an unwavering sense of optimism and never allow oneself to succumb to despair.

Erdenechimeg Nergui, Multiple Myeloma Survivor, Mongolia

In July 2023, Erdenechimeg Nergui, 50, moved to Hebei Yanda Ludoupei Hospital with her daughter for additional treatment after receiving two treatments that resulted in relapse in Mongolia in 2020. Erdenechimeg Nergui, affectionately known as Erdene, was a fairly unusual patient because neither she nor her daughter spoke English, and Mongolian is a relatively minority language, so doctors had to treat her without a linguistic barrier. Erdene’s condition improved thanks to the multinational workers and specialists working together.

Erdene was brought to the hospital for treatment. Following the first bone puncture, biopsy results revealed that her bone marrow morphology was hyperplasia, with aberrant plasma cells accounting for 70.5%. The doctor opted to treat her with CAR-T cells, and following cell collection, she was first given pomalidomide.The bone biopsy was done on the morning of August 21, before the CAR-T infusion, and the results revealed a tumour load of 67.66%. Erdene had CAR-T treatment in the afternoon on August 21. One month after the CAR-T infusion, a bone marrow puncture was performed again, and the results revealed that the tumor load was zero, as were the bone marrow plasma cells.

After one and a half months of CAR-T treatment, all of Erdene’s indicators have reverted to normal; she has been discharged from the hospital and returned to Mongolia. In the future, the staff of the international center will contact her.

Uncle Xu (pseudonym), Multiple Myeloma Survivor, China

Uncle Xu (pseudonym), an individual more than seventy years of age, received a diagnosis of multiple myeloma two years ago as a result of an unintentional fall. His condition worsened, resulting in a loss of mobility and the development of numerous complications. Uncle Qian began to recover progressively after receiving CAR-T cell therapy at the Hematology Department of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University.

Two years ago, after falling, Uncle Xu experienced a worsening of the back discomfort. Upon undergoing an examination at the hospital, it was determined that he not only sustained vertebral fractures but also multiple myeloma. With a prevalence that is exceptionally high among the elderly, multiple myeloma ranks as the second most prevalent hematological tumor. It continues to be an intractable hematological malignant tumor. Following his illness, Uncle Xu embarked on an arduous course of chemotherapy. As a result of drug intolerance, he developed severe suppression of the bone marrow, lung infection, and cardiac discomfort over the course of four cycles of chemotherapy.

The chemotherapy regimen underwent numerous modifications; however, the outcome remained unfavorable. Uncle Xu endured physical and mental torment as a result, and his weight fell significantly. Uncle Xu has experienced a decline in kidney function this year as a result of the advanced stage of multiple myeloma. Compressed nerves from the extramedullary plasmacytoma have rendered him incapacitated in both lower extremities, resulting in urinary incontinence; furthermore, his quality of life is deteriorating.

In September of this year, when multiple lines of chemotherapy and medications failed to control the progression of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma, Uncle Xu’s family learned that CAR-T cell therapy could extend the time until the disease recurs. In an effort to secure a semblance of hope for survival, they proceeded to the hematology department of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University in pursuit of Director Shi Xiaofeng.

Uncle Xu had been incapacitated for an extended period of time and was severely anemic at this time. The individual’s platelet count was a mere 48, which falls below the normal range of (100-300)×10^9/L. An every-other-day blood transfusion was required. Bladder leakage compelled the insertion of a catheter as well. I was unable to consume, had a urinary tract, and was in a very poor mental state overall. Multiple myeloma is characterized by a wide range of clinical manifestations, the most common of which are anemia, bone pain, renal insufficiency, infection, hemorrhage, neurological symptoms, hypercalcemia, and amyloidosis. Uncle Xu was on the verge of developing complications.

The team, under Director Shi’s leadership developed a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan. Three cystoscopic procedures were executed to staunch the bleeding, and active anti-infection measures were implemented to rectify anemia, low platelets, and additional medical conditions. After performing lymphocyte apheresis in September, bridging therapy was administered to alleviate the tumor burden while reinfusion was awaited. In October of this year, CAR-T cell reinfusion was ultimately carried out. After enduring a series of challenges and complications for over two months, Uncle Xu’s condition was progressively stabilized, and his vital signs returned to normal.

Prior to this, he could only lie in the hospital bed every day in a stupor, gazing at the ceiling above his head, but now he can converse with others while half-sitting, according to Uncle Xu. Additionally, the body-wide radiating agony has ceased, and his platelet count has increased to 151. Seeing the exterior of the home from his wheelchair reignited his optimism for survival.

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