Lauren has been fighting cancer for nearly a year now. It all started with years of frequent stomach aches since childhood. She was told she had IBS and lymphocytic colitis, and tried to manage her symptoms with diet changes until the beginning of 2022 when it got significantly worse and she started losing a lot of weight. In July of 2022, she started developing fevers, night sweats, worsening abdominal pain, and ulcers in her mouth that became extremely painful and erosive, landing her in the hospital that August. She was initially misdiagnosed with Crohn’s disease and started treatment for this, but things continued worsening. The ulcers became deeper and more painful, leaving her unable to eat and dependent on IV nutrition for months, making her doctors reconsider her diagnosis. Eventually, after months in the hospital, undergoing every test under the sun, having nearly every specialty consulted and her case presented nationally, there was finally a breakthrough in her case when Dermatology decided to biopsy a small lesion on her skin and discovered the same T-lymphocyte population was attacking her colon, mouth, and skin. At last, she was diagnosed with both peripheral T-cell lymphoma of the GI tract and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and started on chemo on October 6, 2022.
Unfortunately because of the delayed diagnosis, the cancerous ulcers in her mouth caused a bone infection that could only be managed with the extraction of all of her teeth. Throughout the course of multiple types of chemotherapies, she has dealt with the harsh side effects these drugs can have on the body, and even developed a small bowel obstruction in January of 2023, resulting in having her entire colon removed and an ileostomy placed, which would subsequently develop a large wound around the ostomy site. These complications, including a relapse of her disease in her mouth in April, caused multiple delays in obtaining her stem cell transplant. Despite these adversities, she has worked everyday to regain her physical and mental strength, to be in a place where she could safely receive a stem cell transplant. Lauren persevered and finally achieved her goal of a stem cell transplant from her sister on July 13th, 2023. We are hopeful that this will cure her and she will be able to move onto the next chapter of her story, whatever that may be!
Lauren’s sister, Abbey, will be running on October 14th in honor of her sister and has created a social team for others to join!
To help support Lauren now, please consider ordering a Lauren Strong t-shirt or sweatshirt from the link below. All proceeds from the shirts will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the largest lymphoma research and advocacy foundation.
Order your t-shirt, HERE.