My Doernbecher Story
When I was 3 years old, I was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. I went through about two and a half years of treatment, much of it at Doernbecher. It included a bone marrow transplant, chemo, radiation and clinical trials.
I'm 22 now, and cancer-free. Currently, I'm in college in Vancouver, studying for a B.S. in Psychology. I'm fascinated by the brain, seeing how people behave and understanding how biological processes translate into behavior.
While I don't want my experience with cancer to completely define who I am, I'm still proud to call myself a cancer survivor. My mom was the one who found out about the Doernbecher Survivorship Program, and convinced me to try it. I'm glad she did, because it ended up being a great experience. I go back annually for follow-up; so far, I've been twice.
When I come to OHSU for this program, I have appointments throughout the hospital to make sure that any lasting effects from my treatment are being cared for. I have an echocardiogram, I visit dermatology, meet with a psychologist and have blood drawn. I also have a hearing test done; usually there's hearing loss associated with the chemo I had, but my hearing's fine.
My favorite part is at the end of the day when I meet with Dr. Lindemulder to go over all the test results and have a checkup. I like her; she has a great sense of humor.
Last time I was at OHSU, I joked to my mom how much being there strokes my ego—finally, a place that's all about me. That's a testament to everything they do at the Doernbecher Childhood Cancer Survivor Program: The experience is all about you.