My husband, Roger Knight, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma at the end of April 2011. He had been having some health problems for about 6 months. His doctor had diagnosed him with GERD, sinuitis, etc. I had noticed in December 2010 that his stomach looked strangely swollen at times. He nor I knew what the problem was. In April he noticed a strange mass under his right arm. He went back to his doctor who immediately send him to a surgeon who immediately sent him for MRIs. After the MRIs he was sent for a biopsy which confirmed a diagnosis of Burkitt’s. We had never heard of Burkitt’s before this.
My husband was given an appointment with an oncologist. Before he could meet with the oncologist, he had to have emergency surgery for blood clots in one of his legs. This surgery landed my husband in the hospital. We did not know it at the time but for the next nine months he would either be in the hospital or at rehab.
The oncologist told my husband he would live only 4 weeks unless chemo was started within days of his leg surgery. The first round of chemo almost killed him. He had to be put on a ventilator for a week. He almost did not wake up from that. He did survive the first round of chemo. Also, he had lesions on both kidneys. The chemo did clear those up.
After he recovered from the first chemo, he went to rehab and came home for one week. The cancer started moving into his central nervious system, and he was readmitted to the hospital on July 4, 2011. An Omaya was put into his head for the methotrexate to be given to him bathing his spinal fluid. Also, he had a Hickman in his chest for chemo to his body.
He went through a lot mentally and physically. He never walked again unassisted. He could not balance after the cancer went into his central nervous system.
By December 2011 he had lost use of both arms and hands. His right eye was swollen and had a glassy look to it. He could not see out of it.His immune system was so compromised that he caught pneumonia at the end of December.
The neurosurgeons wanted to operate on his neck trying to help him regain use of his arms and hands. My husband agreed to the surgery. They waited a week or so due to the pneumonia. He survived the surgery but could not get over the pneumonia. His body was too weak. The doctors had also put a feeding tube in his stomach and a trach in to help him breathe.
My husband fought and fought to get well, because he wanted to come home again. His body finally could not fight all of it anymore, and he died on February 13, 2011. Thankfully our children and I were there with him.
I asked his oncologist how he had caught this disease? All he could tell me was in my husband’s case it was the Epstein-Barre virus.