By Kathy Sonnenfelt
A Bloomfield almuni has many things to be thankful for this holdiay season. When counting his blessings, Jacob Johnson, a 2015 graduate, does not forget to count the small-town support he received from his journey with Lymphoma.
Jacob Johnson, is the 20 year old son of Emmett and Renea Johnson, of rural Bloomfield. He has three brothers, including an older brother, Seth who is 22, Joshua his twin brother, 20, and his youngest brother, Adam who is 16.
Jacob enrolled in Wayne State College to pursue his dream of becoming an RN, and after working the summer he moved to Wayne with his twin brother, Joshua.
But, first the boys had to go through their preliminary classes. Jacob in his pre-nursing, and Joshua in pre-engineering classes. According to Renea, “During those first few months of college Jacob was not feeling his best, and at the end of October after seeing a physician we found out Jacob had Hodgkin Lymphoma.”
“It was a blessing that the boys were able to room together,” said Renea. She went on to say how much Joshua was able to help his brother, Jacob, while he was going through his treatments.
Each type of Lymphoma is different and it is important to know which type you are dealing with, as the two types behave, spread, and respond to treatment differently. Lymphomas are cancers that start in white blood cells called lymphocytes. There are two main types: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
Community Rallies Together
“The community has rallied around us and have been fantastic, and so have our employers,” said Renae. “My husband works for Jim and Vicki Herzog’s Feedlot and I am a Technology Director at Bloomfield Community Schools.”
After six months of chemotherapy, and seven and-one half weeks of radiation Jacob was in remission a little over a year.
“During a follow-up appointment a mass was found in the middle of Jacob’s chest right next to his heart,” said Renea. A biopsy determined that this tumor was of the same strain of cancer he was already dealing with.
“His Doctor said it was probably from cells that were more resistant to the treatments used,” recalled Renae. Jacob would have to undergo more more treatments and a port was put in place for chemotherapy.
Jacob did not suffer from depression while in the hospital during his stem cell transplant, thanks to Mrs. Folck’s second grade class who sent cards, and the high school staff who sent a large get well card to him. “He enjoyed these very much,” said Renea.
Stem Cell Transplant
Jacob was scheduled for a stem cell transplant, and was able to donate his own stem cells. “He was then hooked up to a dialysis type machine to remove the platelets,” as I recall said Renae. Chemotherapy followed to destroy any leftover cancer cells before the transplant took place.
“A normal platelet count is 100,000 or above, and we received good news after a couple weeks, his was 65,000, and Jacob was coming home, we were all very excited,” mentioned Renea.
Recovery Going Well
At a follow-up appointment only five days after returning home, more good news followed. His platelet count was up to 94,000, almost normal.
Jacob is home now and going through a long recovery after being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in the fall of 2015.
Renea said, “I just want everyone to know that Jacob is very much a people person, but right now he has to be careful. He cannot be around any kind of germs, and does where a mask when leaving the house. His immune system is very much like that of a baby.”
“Our family would like everyone to know how very proud we are to be a part of such a wonderful community as Bloomfield, we couldn’t have done it without you,” commented Renea.