Hodgkin’s Lymphoma- NOT the “Curable Cancer”-A Journey – A Request

September 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm 30 comments

In my many years of writing for various print and electronic media requests for help or publicizing fundraisers for various causes have come across my desk in the den. To be perfectly frank with you all this latest request makes me feel awkward because it is for one of the people who holds my heart hostage and has done so since before the day he first drew a breath.

Some of you will know of the journey of horror and pain since that first phone call in February 2008
Ironically , the Drs. all said :

if you have to have cancer this is the one you want”

it is the curable cancer – 95 percent and you only have to have 4 to 6 cycles of chemo and some spot radiation to be sure”

So the journey of chemo and radiation started and this time last year we were looking at hope for the future…… BUT the symptoms of Hodgkins persisted , it took weeks for the Drs. to actually believe it wasn’t the effects of the flu or to do with the radiation side effects ….. our New Year of hope ended with the results…. it was back!!!!!……( if indeed it had ever truly left.)

Then came the barrage of tests and treatment once again, this time at the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus – Lymphoma unit. We had one of the very best hospitals and a course of action –

radical intensive chemo – to knock it out once and for all- then more chemo – a harvesting of stem cells from the bone marrow with radiation of those cells- TWO stem cell transplants ( done in tandem- one of the latest procedures-


Although painful and debilitating with weeks in the hospital – it was worth it to get rid of this obscenity that had insinuated itself into my son’s body and wreaked havoc and despair in all of those of us that love him.

But before even his hair and nails grew back the “curable cancer was back” – once again Drs. were taken aback – tests done for everything, fungus, viral , bacterial infections but NO! it was the damned “Curable Hodgkin’s Lymphoma”- the “curable Cancer ‘ that survived and continued to kill.


The specialist told us that the conventional treatment had been all but exhausted- his immune system does not see the >”curable cancer” as a threat.

I have since found out that this disease that effects the young ages 14 to 35 isn’t quite the “nice” cancer people think. It , like all cancer, should be treated as a powerful adversary waiting to kill body , hope and soul.

Now we find ourselves once more on a journey – to Houston – Texas- MD Anderson- where we were fortunate enough to be given just a glimmer of hope with a “trial treatment” of SGN 35 – being an experiment and a trial- we , (and I say we because Cancer effects all of those that love )- don’t know projected time lines or responses . All we do know is that we have to try. Apart from the medical expenses, having to stay in Houston for weeks and also flying back and forth is adding to the ripple effects of ever growing expenses.

As you can imagine the costs are escalating for this young couple- both emotionally and financially – family members and friends have come together to help defray at least some of the expenses so to that end- I am finally getting to the point of this blog.

When – Sunday – OCTOBER 25TH -1:00 -5:00

Where- Rosewood Place- 4493 Oberlin Avenue- Lorain Ohio 44053

What – Spaghetti Dinner- Silent Auction – 50/50 raffle – Browns Game ( on a big screen TV)

How Much – $15.00 – kinds under 5 eat free.

Tickets and or reservations – please call Nikki -440-282-3195 – Rich – 440-245-8752 or 440-989-5141 –

If you are unable to attend but would still like to contribute there has been an account set up “Friends of Chris Ritchey ” First Federal Savings and Loan of Lorain- 3721 Oberlin Avenue, Lorain, Ohio 44053

You may also purchase tickets
Jenkins and Bevans Insurance – 47375 Cooper Foster Park Road – Amherst 44001

Marsha Funk State Farm Insurance- 3004 Oberlin Ave. Lorain – 44052

Entry filed under: health, medical. Tags: , .

Houston- Hurrahs and Hurricanes- Never too old to learn?

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. renee dore  |  September 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Loraine, This is taking every ounce of strength not only for Chris to endure but also, like you said , the family. We hope here in Lorain, to help be with you in thought and support. I was just talking to someone who worked in the office where I work and spoke about you and Chris and what has happended this past year. Her son knows Chris and she is going to pass along what I told her. This touches all of us here deeply. Our words convey our concerned thoughts and we are thinking of you. I could type and type about this but will stop here. Renee

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks Renee, this is dreadful especially given the initial positive prognosis ……..it is as if even the Drs. couldn’t believe the situation…however since then I have found that Chris is not alone when it comes to the way this has happened…..literally millions have been spent in the past 18 months and it doesn’t take long to reach an insurance cap with a catastophic illness something everyone should be aware of …… Loraine

  • 3. dave cotton  |  September 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    My heart breaks for your entire family. I wish words were powerful enough to make the cancer and all of this go AWAY!! I am not sure what your source of strength is but know that there are many here who care and offer support.

  • 4. thatwoman  |  September 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks Dave.I have no strength left actually – I am going through the motions day by day – my heart sore pained within me….trying to at least help with what I can help with ..tears just never seem to go away- they just well beneath the surface waiting for release when all is quiet and I am alone with my fears and anger…. you can help as others by getting this story out through the web and email lists.not only for the fundraiser BUT the awareness that cancer is cancer…..percentages are crap …. and this curable cancer is NOT as easy as everyone seems to believe…( including some Drs) …..I don’t want any other mother, grandmother or wife or sister , father or brother to go through this “bungy cord jump of hope ” without being realiistic…… Loraine

  • 5. Rita McCormick  |  September 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    We know how difficult this battle is. We’re rooting for all of you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Rita and Maureen

  • 6. Palma Stipe  |  September 27, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Dearest Loraine,
    I admire your courage to express in words your personal and deepest pain. I will continue to surround Chris in prayer for wellness and strength for the journey ahead. God Bless you and your beautiful family Loraine.
    Sending you comfort & Hugs,

  • 7. Antonio Barrios  |  September 27, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Hola Loraine. It is not only painful to be there as your son fights for his life but to have been lulled into thinking that the situation is as bad as it seems is mean and heartless. To create a false hope is sometimes worse than the tragedy itself. I recently lost my Grandson to youth violence in Elyria and am still absorbing the pain, it will take much more time to move past my pain, but to sit by day by day must be worse. I feel your pain and send my prayers to you and your family I will post the fundraiser on every site in know.
    God Bless

  • 8. Alex McGuire  |  September 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    My Dear Loraine,

    I’m so sorry about all of this – you and your family must be heartbroken and not forgetting Angela, Chris’ wife. You have all done the best you can for Chris being at his side both in Cleveland and in Houston, Texas – it is now in the hands of Almighty God so, keep praying for his recovery as I will be. Do not give up hope.

    I will be writing to you soon.

    Love, Alex (from Scotland)

  • 9. Carolyn Sipkovsky  |  September 28, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Dear Loraine,
    We continue to keep Chris and all of you in our prayers. It is unbelievable that this is reported as the curable cancer only to have such serious results and after all the treatments Chris has already been through. Please know that there are many here that are praying for all of you.
    I will get the word out about the fundraiser to all I can.
    Carolyn & Frank

  • 10. anne molnar  |  September 28, 2009 at 4:19 am

    Dear Loraine,
    From time to time, you have kept all your friends informed about Chris. It is a sad day to hear the end results of all that Chris has endured.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    I will pass the word around about the fund raiser, and will post it for all council to be informed.
    Please call me if there is anything that I can do for you and the family.

  • 11. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you everyone….I don’t really have words.. except to say as I have mentioned before if kindness cured cancer we would be laughing instead of crying ….Loraine

  • 12. Mary Beth  |  September 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Words can’t explain how my heart aches for you. I will email you later about sending some things for your silent action. I will continue to keep you all in my prayers.
    Mary Beth (“B”)

  • 13. Diane Wargo Medina  |  September 29, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Loraine- My super,strong friend, we gather our inner strength from God, but honestly as a mother there is a deeper source within. I have been keeping close ties with people who keep me informed. I will let people know at work about the fundraiser, who is cooking? I can help with that, let me know. If that is taken care of, maybe there is something else, otherwise I plan on showing up. I can use my awesome skills from 9 years of cafeteria work/waitress, maybe I can help like that?? Joke!! but seriously let me know. God be with all of you..Diane

  • […] FUNDRAISER FOR CHRIS When – Sunday – OCTOBER 25TH -1:00 -5:00 […]

  • 15. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 29, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Thanks Diane if you would like to help contact Paula or Rich R I will most likely be in Texas still at that time Loraine

  • 16. Dr. Hilaire (Sally) Tavenner  |  September 29, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Lorraine, few in this city are as devoted to our well being as you are. I hope and pray your ever-giving good will is returned by the loving and prayerful and financial support of people throughout our community. Prayers for Chris, Sue and all your loved ones. If only we could find a way to stop this epidemic of cancers in our culture. Blessings. Hilaire

  • 17. Joyce Smith  |  September 30, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Will be there – no.. question – I’ll be in touch before then. Gotta keep the faith no matter what happens. Will make arrangements thru the proper channels. You call me girl, you know we’re here for you – always. XX

  • […] around in my head for months and the path to peace and serenity or even “control” over this aspect of my life is alluding me […]

  • 19. Coming up this month « Buckeye RINO  |  October 7, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    […] A fundraiser to help Chris Ritchey fight Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is scheduled for October 25th from 1 pm to 5 pm at Rosewood Place, 4493 Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.  A spaghetti dinner will be served.  Admission is $15 per person (children under 5 years old eat free).  If you can’t make it to the event, but would like to donate to help defray Mr. Ritchey’s medical expenses, a fund has been established at First Federal Savings & Loan of Lorain, 3721 Oberlin Avenue, Lorain, Ohio 44053 (make checks payable to: Friends of Chris Ritchey).  Tickets for the event can be obtained in several ways.  In person, tickets can be obtained at Jenkins and Bevans Insurance, 47375 Cooper Foster Park Road, Amherst 44001; or at Marsha Funk State Farm Insurance, 3004 Oberlin Ave., Lorain 44052.  By phone, tickets can be requested by calling Nikki (440) 282-3195 or  Rich (440) 245-8752 or (440) 989-5141.  Chris Ritchey is the son of Loraine Ritchey, blog author of That Woman’s Weblog (listed in my blogroll sidebar), and, besides her numerous blog entries about Lorain history and government, she shares information about the battle Chris has waged against Hodgkins Lymphoma. […]

  • 20. Pam Burton  |  October 16, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Hi Loraine,

    Mom just read me the letter that your mom sent her and I was so sad to hear of Christopher’s journey with this devastating illness. I will keep you all in my prayers. I love the picture of Christopher’s engagement. Seems like it was just yesterday that I was playing with him on the deck at mom and dad’s in Martinon.

    Love to you all,

  • 21. thatwoman  |  October 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Better times Pam – wish I could go back when all I had to worry about was the “potty training” godd to hear from you will be in touch Love Loraine

  • 22. An Update Houston and Hodgkins « That Woman’s Weblog  |  November 7, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    […] of you know two months ago we were handed the horrible news that all known treatment used in the “curable cancer” ( Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) hadn’t worked -our options were exhausted- we were devastated and […]

  • 23. carla falasco  |  December 4, 2009 at 7:27 am

    this breaks my heart. though i did not know chris well, he was in my class, is my age, and had all of life before him. its not fair, and it is not right. but it is. my heart goes out to all of those who were closest to him during this difficult time.

  • […] https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/hodgkins-lymphoma-not-the-curable-cancer-a-journey-a-reque… Had I had any input then those funds no longer needed for Chris’s hope would have been used to give hope to others or returned. As I look every morning at the box holding the thank you’s, I remember how gracious and caring most people are and the helpless feeling of not being able to express my gratitude to those whom I am unaware made donations. […]

  • 25. vaatsalyashetty  |  November 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    hi, i was trying to find out if Hodgkin lymphoma is curable. Since our dr too told us “its a curable cancer”
    In process of searching articles related to it, i happened to read your s.
    hmm… i dont know… wat to say…. still with that hope wanted to know… does hodgkin lymphoma cure ?

  • 26. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Hodgkins is supposedly the curable cancer we were told it was 95 percent curable when my son was diagnosed – he was stage two it is actually about 80 percent curable However most of the 80 percent only have to have 4 to 6 cheoi treatments some have follow up radiation and they are perfectly fine.

    What happened to my son is the disease came back after the initial treatment and it came back quickly this is called refractory Hodgkins, the Dr.s didn’t believe it and when the lumps came back on his neck they treated him with antibiotices and said he had bronchitus – it wasn’t- it was the cancer and his chances went down to 30 percent cure rate …… they then did adouble stem cell transplant and within two months it was back (AGAIN the Drs. poo hooed the fact that it was the return of Hodgkins ) which took him to 10 percent curable with the new trial drug SGN35 now on the market for Hodgkins- they actually don’t have him down as dying from Hodgkins but from H1N1 so even then those 95 percent states were squewerd – but actually I have found out since that he died from Acute Pulmonary Toxicity caused by all the chemo , radiation and the “treatment” ……. If I have a word of advice to give to you is once the initial treatment is done keep a close eye on any symptons and insist they do more than antibiotics because the Drs. in my opinion are too willing to believe the “curable cancer hype” If you ever need to talk you have my eamil Loraine

  • 27. Dawn Phillips  |  September 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of your situation. It is now 2013, the page I just read was dated 2008… I’m not sure how things are going for your family, I wish I could help. But unfortunately I too was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and only because I diagnosed myself & of course I was told the exact same thing about it being the one you want. My aunt died with this 38 years ago and was told that she was in remishan, 5 yrs later they continued to tell her she just the flu. If was true why did she collapse & die in her daughters arms. It was the autopsy that told our family that the Lymphoma came back & that the lymphnode a swelled up around her heart killing her.
    If there is any advise that you can offer, I would greatly appreciate it. I can be reached by my email at

  • 28. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Dawn well Chris died because of basically the “cure” except that it was probably inevitable the cancer would have come back again and again .. and I have not been able to bring myself to write about all the medical journey we went through- although I am going to try I am pretty disgusted with the Cleveland Clinic and “team doctors approach” I can tell you that much and I will never go through that “process” with not knowing who is a resident who is a fellow and who is an in tern and the experimentation guinea pig approach- I have learned a lot on this horrible journey… I will email you off the blog .

  • 29. Katie  |  June 7, 2014 at 1:58 am

    I hope the best for this family and friends. My husband and I are 23 and my husband has been fighting hodgkins lymphoma stage 4 for 4 years. He was told the same thing that it’s the “curable cancer” and all that. He also went through the same 6 months of chemo, radiation, stem cell transplant, several trial chemotherapy and now we are also trying to fundraise so he can go through a donor transplant at karmonos. Again I hope and pray the best for your family and friends. No one fights alone.

  • 30. Loraine Ritchey  |  June 7, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Hi Katie unfortunately Chris who was my son lost his battle with the curable cancer – three months after the post which was in 2009 – I wish you well and if there is anything I can do to help you and your husband on this terrible journey pleaser contact me directly lorritch7@gmail.com

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