By: Sean P. Young
In July 2019, Georgia-Jean Kemp noticed a tiny lump below her left earlobe as she was getting ready for bed. Kemp, now 75, went downstairs to get her husband Ray’s opinion. A retired orthodontist (Medicine Hat’s first orthodontist, actually), Kemp’s husband of nearly 50 years thought the lump warranted a visit to her doctor. The Kemps were able to get in to see the doctor in the morning and became further concerned when he felt several more lumps beneath the skin on her neck. After an inconclusive needle biopsy, Georgia-Jean received a surgical biopsy and, 10 days later, the Kemps were told over a speakerphone that Georgia-Jean had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Georgia-Jean received her first chemotherapy treatment at the Margery E. Yuill Cancer Centre (MYCC) two weeks after her diagnosis. She did another 11 treatments at MYCC, every second Friday and was told in February 2020 that her cancer was completely undetectable. Now two years cancer-free, Georgia-Jean looks forward to visits every six months from her oncologist, Dr. S. Razavi, who she credits for helping her make it through her cancer journey. Georgia-Jean shares her story here:
“When Dr. Nohr said it was cancer, I just fell apart because there was no cancer on either side of my family. They all lived to be well in their 90s, and they just died of old age. So, I was quite shocked when I heard the word. But, Dr. Nohr said, ‘Georgia, I know it’s hard to hear that word, but if you have to have cancer, I’m going to tell you that Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the cancer to have, it’s got a 93 or 94 per cent success rate.’
“I was scared for my very first treatment. I didn’t know what to expect. But the oncology nurses I had at Margery Yuill were absolutely fabulous. They just made you feel so at ease and would bring you whatever you wanted.
“I was very lucky. They booked me for three-and-a-half hours for the four bags of chemo to drip through, but they said I had wonderful veins, and I was done in less than two-and-a-half hours, every treatment I had.
“After my eighth treatment [in October 2020], I made a trip to Tom Baker in Calgary and had a PET scan. I talked to my oncologist in Medicine Hat a couple days later to go over the results, and she said the only thing left is a tiny speck the size of a pinhead; it’s basically completely gone.
“But, I elected to go for two more months of chemo, four more treatments because I wanted it completely gone. I finished my treatment in January and made another trip up to Calgary in February 2020. I had the same test done, and it came back as clean as a whistle.
“It’s been more than two years now, and I’m so thankful for my husband, who was by my side for every appointment, every treatment; he’s just a fabulous man. And, of course, I’m very grateful for all the doctors and nurses who treated me. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful people taking care of me.”