Great news from Uncle Phil

Phil Leadbetter checks in with a very encouraging report on his medical treatment.

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in April 2011.

This cancer attacks the lymph nodes throughout the body. I have been  receiving almost non-stop chemotherapy since that time. This condition and treatments basically took me away from music. I have spent alot of time in the hospital, as well as many days in the infusion lab receiving my chemotherapy.

In February, I went to see Dr. Grapski (who is a stem cell specialist), following a PET scan. I had been to him a few months earlier, and he thought I needed a little more chemo before I was ready to receive a stem cell transplant. Anyway, in February, I was hoping my scan would show improvement… was the total opposite.

My cancer had became very aggressive, and had moved to new areas  of my body. My regular oncologist suggested I get a 2nd opinion to see if there was something else out there that could be done. It wasn’t looking real good.

So, I went to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, and met with Dr. Reddy, who is a specialist in Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She suggested a different and more potent regimen of chemotherapy. After 2 rounds, my PET scan showed a huge improvement. I completed 4 rounds of this chemo in June, and had another PET scan.

My oncologist sent me back to talk again with the stem cell surgeon. I had been turned down twice before for stem cell because my cancer wasn’t stable. Yesterday, I met with Dr. Grapski again, and he accepted me to the program, and agreed that I am now ready for this stem cell proceedure.

I just can’t tell you how happy I was to hear this!!! Finally, it looked like I may be getting a second chance at life. It looks like I will be starting the program around mid-August, and will include 21 (or more) days in the hospital. Dr. Grapski thinks I have an excellent chance of being completely cured with the stem cell. He also told me that he thinks I will be doing well before Thanksgiving.

So………..I’m starting to think about playing again. Hoping I can be back out next year in 2013 with a new CD, and playing again on the road. I have really missed it, and have missed everyone. My family and I can’t thank you all enough for all the love, prayers and support you have shown us through this difficult time.

For the first time in over a year and a half, I am excited again!!!! God Bless you all!!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.