Our bodies can often overcome serious health problems; sometimes they just need a little help. That’s what non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor Tana Davis learned when her doctors at Texas Oncology and Baylor University Medical Center suggested a stem cell transplant that would ultimately help her own healthy cells fight aggressive cancer cells in her body.
Today, Tana is cancer free and has a love life.
“I have been in remission and now I am in my third year,” he said. “I’m so happy.”
When cancer treatment works and then doesn’t
It all started in 2011 when Tana was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She received chemotherapy and, thanks to early detection and treatment, she overcame the disease. Then, in 2018, the cancer returned. This time, however, the chemotherapy was not working.
“After several weeks of chemotherapy, my local doctor told me that it was not working and that he did not know exactly what we could do from there,” said Tana.
Anyone who has been in this position remembers the feeling. It is impossible to describe the feeling of uncertainty about what lies ahead. Fortunately, Tana’s local oncologist was not satisfied with letting Tana’s treatment go unsolved. He remembered Brian Berryman, MD, whose pioneering work had helped others beat non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and made a phone call.
Training healthy Tana cells to fight cancer
After a series of tests, Dr. Berryman and his team determined that Tana would be a good candidate for a new type of autologous stem cell transplant. Thanks to significant investments and new innovations, the procedure, traditionally called a bone marrow transplant, has evolved in recent years.
Dr. Berryman explained to Tana that his team would collect her healthy and most powerful cancer-fighting cells and send them for preservation while she received chemotherapy.
“Then I would come back in a couple of weeks and they would re-enter them and put them into my body,” Tana said. “They would be portrayed as nothing more than cancer cell fighters.”
At that time, those preserved cells would be ready for battle.
Thanks to Dr. Berryman and his team of experts, the procedure went smoothly. Tana spent 14 days in the care of the warm and welcoming team of Baylor Scott & White Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. He made many friends among the staff.
“The hospital was good to me,” he said. “My daughter-in-law was with me and they accommodated us very sweetly. I can’t tell you enough about my nurses there and how they took care of me. “
The power of prayer and positivity
Tana’s journey has taken many unexpected detours. But one thing has remained true throughout: his optimism and gratitude. Research shows that your positive attitude has a positive effect on your body, and Tana is a living example of this. First, she is happy about her faith.
“There were people praying for me all over this country and in other countries,” he said. “I feel like God is interfering with me.”
Then, she radiates love and appreciation to the members of her family who supported her along the way.
“I have a wonderful support system,” Tana said. “I have three lovely children, and they have been there for me.”
But Tana’s heart of appreciation doesn’t stop there. She is especially grateful to her medical team.
“They sent me two of the most wonderful doctors. God sent me, well, a whole series of doctors, but two oncology specialists from Texas, ”he said. “I thank God for them.”
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