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Image of Elizabeth Naylor and Her Family

Photos and text used with permission of
Elizabeth Naylor.

My name is Elizabeth Hamblin Naylor and cancer gave me two birthdays. I was diagnosed on October 16th, 2009 with Primary Mediastinal Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. At the time my daughter Grace was two years old, and my husband Adam and I had been married for six years. We were planning on putting our home on the market and I was hoping to buy a new car. Plans changed. I had a softball sized tumor in the right center of my chest.

I tried three different types of chemotherapy without any success in fighting my disease. The first chemo was R-CHOP and we were assured that given my age and health it would be successful. It only took two rounds to know it was not working. The second chemo was RICE and again only two rounds in and I was getting worse. In addition to the tumor in my chest I had also developed a tumor that essentially encased my right kidney. My third type of chemo took us from our home outside of Boston to The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. I signed on to a research protocol and although the team was optimistic at the start, after two rounds there was no change in my tumor.

It was time to decide where to have an allogenic stem cell transplant. In April of this year, after being told by the transplant doctors in Boston that while they could do the standard transplant, they were not confident that I would even survive the process, I signed on to another research protocol at NIH. These doctors were confident and felt that their transplant could and would save my life. My family and I found ourselves moving to Bethesda for the next four months. Being so far from home was difficult but I am grateful to have made that decision.

Today, I am in partial remission with no sign of cancer activity in my body. I am a survivor. And as a survivor I have the chance to continue being a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I have the opportunity to make a difference in the world by participating in programs such as Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program. Cancer research and funding for this research is, for obvious reasons, something that I believe in with all of my heart and with my life. The research protocol that I am a part of has been around for six years and is now in its fourth version. I am the 90th person to be a part of this protocol and the tenth person to be a part of this particular version. Each time I am scanned and the scan shows no cancer activity my team of doctors and nurses are both excited for me and excited for their research. Not only did this research save my life but my participation will help countless other patients in the future.

My name is Elizabeth Hamblin Naylor. On May 4, 2011 I was 32 years old and on April 6, 2011 my immune system and healthy body was one year old. Cancer gave me two birthdays.