Dealing With a Second Blow From Cancer
- Minnesota radio personality Jordana Green beat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer, in 2020. Sadly, she recently expressed to listeners that her cancer has returned.
- The Good Neighbor host will undergo two rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant.
- ALL is a very aggressive disease that can grow quickly, therefore treatments to fight it often need to be very aggressive as well.
“I cannot believe for the second time in two years I have to tell the listeners and everybody I love online and everywhere that I once again have cancer,” The Good Neighbor host shared. “My leukemia has returned and that is a shock to all of us, including my doctors and transplant team at Mayo Clinic.”Read More
Green explained that a man in Germany donated bone marrow during her her first round of leukemia, and her care team is reaching out again to see if he is willing and able to help her again.
“My greatest risk for the next few months as they dismantle my immune system will be infections, so if we had dinner plans or a trip or anything, I will have to cancel,” she said. “I won’t lose my hair again until [the transplant] so I may dye it platinum.”
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Green mainly expressed her immense frustration over her husband Marc Grossfield and their three teenagers having to go through this again.
“Having to watch them go through this all again is horrible and I’m tired of all the ‘but your kids are so resilient’ bulls***. How much do my children have to take? It’s not fair to them and I’m pissed,” Green wrote on Caring Bridge.
“I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m nervous, but I know I’m not alone. Being alone may be easier, then I could give up and slip quietly off this f****d up world that we have nearly ruined through baseless hatred and neglect. But despite the physical and emotional global carnage, I want to stay here with my family and friends. So I will pull my s*** together, do my breathing exercises, buy some cute hospital clothes and fight.”
It’s common to have anger while dealing with any sort of stressful life event, and cancer would definitely quality as one of them. But having to go through it again? Things may seem hopeless at the time, but it’s best to refocus those feelings, at least take comfort in knowing what to expect since you’ve been through this rodeo, and have faith that you can get through it again.
Life can seem so unfair, but it’s crucial to focus on what you do have, in Green’s case, a family and a solid crew of fans and listeners for those down days when she feels she needs the extra support.
Understanding Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
In general, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, but there’s so much more to know about disease.
Dr. Olalekan Oluwole, a hematologist with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, recently sat down with SurvivorNet to talk about ALL, how it affects the body and the type of treatments that work to fight it.
“ALL is a type of cancer that is very aggressive,” Dr. Oluwole told us. “It grows very fast. Within a few weeks, a few months, the person will start to feel very sick. And that’s why we will have to give it an equally aggressive type of treatment to break that cycle.”
He says many times the leukemia is rested in the bone marrow, and because it is an abnormal growth, it just keeps dividing.
“It doesn’t follow rules, and it doesn’t stop,” he explained. “Not only that, because this is part of the immune system, the immune system is sorta like the police of the body. So those abnormal cells that have now become cancer, they have the ability to go to many places. They go into the blood, and they often go into the tissue or the lining around the brain.”
“By the time somebody comes to us and they have ALL we already assume that it has gone everywhere in the body, and we have to treat them like that,” Dr. Oluwole says.
He says many patients present with fever or infections because the bone marrow has “failed in its ability to make other types of blood cells.”
Symptoms of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
According to the American Cancer Society, acute lymphocytic leukemia can cause a variety of signs and symptoms. Most of these symptoms can occur in all types of ALL, but some are more common with specific subtypes.
Overall, symptoms are cause by a low number of blood cells, and may include:
- Feeling tired
- Feeling weak
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Infections that don’t go away or keep coming back
- Bruises (or small red or purple spots) on the skin
- Bleeding, such as frequent or severe nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or heavy menstrual bleeding in women
ALL patients can also often have non-specific symptoms, including:
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite