Louise Smith
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Not your typical Hodgkin lymphoma patient

Louise Smith
Posted by
13 Jun 2014

I’m a survivor! My story begins in 2007, when I started to suffer with a terrible itchy rash, followed a few months later by increasing breathlessness.

Despite visits to my GP and various tests, plus a stay in hospital, I remained undiagnosed.

In November 2007 I was admitted to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton. The cardiologist had found something on an echocardiogram which he could not explain. Further tests were carried out that day and I was operated on a few days later.

I had an unusual presentation of Hodgkin lymphoma - a huge mass which filled my chest cavity and was pressing on my heart. It was also attached to my lungs and blood vessels. Nothing showed in my lymph glands. I was a 51 year old woman, so I wasn’t your typical Hodgkin lymphoma patient.

In January 2008 I started a six month course of a chemotherapy regimen known as ABVD to make sure all was cleared up. Within a couple of months of finishing treatment I started to find lumps in my neck - my cancer was back.

I had several regimens of treatment, during which the cancer seemed to be retreating, but would then come back again. The answer seemed to be a bone marrow transplant, but none of my siblings were a match. Instead my stem cells were harvested at Russells Hall Hospital in November 2008, while treatment to keep the cancer at bay continued at New Cross Hospital. I eventually had my own stem cells transplanted at Heartlands in Birmingham in March 2009.

I had radiotherapy in August of that year and since then I have remained in remission. My treatment has left me partially deaf, but I am so grateful to all who helped me through this.”

If you've recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and have yet to receive treatment you could be eligible to take part in a new clinical trial. Read more here.



Hi Louise,

What an incredible journey you've been on! Reading all the set-backs and false dawns you went through before finally kicking lymphoma's butt, made me realise how fortunate I was to have a relatively straight forward ride when it came to my own treatment for CML. I have enormous respect for you the way you dealt with these set backs and came out of the other side. You're clearly made of stern stuff!

I wish you all the best for the future and hope you're enjoying life whatever you're up to!