Justin Blackmon
Out of State
Age Diagnosed
Age 8
Not Feature Story
Chemotherapy & Radiation
My son Justin was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was 8 years old (2005). He had a large lump on his neck. We brought him to our family doctor and he thought Justin just had swollen glands from a sore throat since he had no other symptoms. This went on for about three months. When the lump didn’t go away he sent us to a pediatrician about an hour away from where we live. They did blood tests and diagnosed him with chronic anemia because his blood counts were low. We went back to the pediatrician for a follow up about a month later and he still had the lump but it was bigger, he was having unexplained fevers and night sweats. The pediatrician brought a colleague in and they decided to send him to Children’s Hospital just to make sure there wasn’t something going on that they weren’t aware of. Well that was the answer to all of our problems!! We went to Children’s and saw Dr. Nicole Bryant and she new right away what it was. We had a whirlwind of tests that day, including blood tests and she pretty much knew from his blood counts that it was Hodgkin’s. They immediately set him up for surgery for a biopsy of the lump to confirm the diagnosis and to see what kind he had. A couple hours later we had the definite diagnosis of State 3B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Dr. Bryant was great at explaining everything they were doing and what was to happen next, she left no stone unturned when she was informing us of the disease.

Justin had to undergo six weeks of aggressive chemotherapy. Then, six weeks of regular chemotherapy and then 12 weeks of radiation. The aggressive chemo was the hardest. He would go in for his treatments and we would no sooner get home and he would be running a fever so we would have to rush him to the emergency room, they would stabilize him and send us back to Children’s where he would stay for a week on IV antibiotics. We live 3 hours away from Children’s hospital so it was always a big ordeal.

I have to say though that every time we are at Children’s Hospital and every time he had to be admitted everyone there was so great. They all always made us feel at home.

About half way through his aggressive treatments Justin went into septic shock. That was the scariest experience for both of us. His blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels and his heart rate was extremely high. They immediately rushed him to the pediatric intensive care unit. They got everything back in control within 24 hours.

All in all our experience with Children’s has been GREAT. Justin loves to go there for his check ups. He feels like they are family.

Justin is in remission now and has been for a little over two years. We continue to go to Children’s for his checkups every six months.