A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that most often occurs in young people aged 12-30.


Burkitt's Lymphoma Resources

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Posted March 19, 2003

Hi my name is Mike Dunning. I am 24 years old. In October of 2002 I was told that a malignant tumor had been removed from my bowel. At that point the news didn't shock me. I had just ended a four month life or death struggle and I was just happy to be alive and felling well. Back in June of that year, after a night out with friends, I woke up with a sharp pain in the right side of my abdomen. The pain persisted and so I went to see a doctor. The doctor told me that it was probably gastritis, and just some inflamed tissue caused by the alcohol that I had consumed the night before the pain started. He told me to try Pepto Bismal. The pain persisted and eventually I went to see my family doctor. I had an upper GI x-ray which showed that I had esophagitis (the burning of the esophagus as a result of acid reflux). My blood tests came back positive for a bacteria called h-pylori, a common bacteria which is associated with ulcers. I was given medication to treat ulcers and kill h-pylori. After a month of taking this medication my symptoms were worse. I had diarhea every day. I couldn't eat anything without feeling pain (even water) and I had gone from a physically fit, 160lb guy to a pasty white, 130lb wreck. I was unable to work at my part-time job or go to school at the University of Western Ontario. Finally, I got an appointment for some lower bowel x-rays. In September 2002 I had a barium enema x-ray, and that proved to be the most excruciating experience of my entire life. A week later I had a colonoscopy and doctors found that my bowel was almost completely obstructed and that the bowel was intususcepting. I had CT scans that day and surgery that night and a week later I left the hospital at 122.6 lbs. I was handed off to the cancer clinic and took two rounds of chemotherapy (minus methotrexate) in December to treat any remaining Burkitt's Lymphoma cells. It is now March 2003. I have been cancer free for 5 months. I am a lean 175 lbs., and I am stronger than ever, both physically and mentally. I trully beleive that surviving cancer is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. After what I have been through I no longer take my health for granted, I always try to remain cheerful and I am determined to be the best person that I can be. I realize that I was extremely fortunate. Some people would kill to be in my shoes. I like to think of my life now as a second chance. What would you have said or done differently if you could do it all over again? ... if you had a second chance at life. I highly recomend Lance Armstrong's book: It's not about the bike, and also Ernest Hemingway's: The Old Man and the Sea. I'll see you at Western this fall!!


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