Lymphoma Survivor Uses Oncofertility Service, Parents Twins

 

A new father to 11-month-old twins, Adam Crosby, 31, says his favorite thing about fatherhood is the look on his daughters’ faces when he comes home from a long day of teaching eighth grade science at Fairfield Middle School.

The hardest is a little more difficult for him to pin down.

“My wife wants me to say something about diapers, but I think that being bothered by poopy diapers comes as an after effect of my cancer treatment,” he says.

In 2013, Crosby was diagnosed with lymphoma.

“I woke up on a Monday morning and was having trouble breathing and swallowing, so I went to my UC Health primary care doctor Lena Bhargava who first prescribed me steroids, but those didn’t work, and in fact, the problems got worse,” he says. “They scheduled me for a CT scan the following Monday, but that night, I began experiencing numbness in my neck, face and left arm, so I went to the West Chester Hospital emergency department. They did the scan immediately which showed a mass, but they couldn’t tell ifoncofertility Twins it was cancerous right away.”

Crosby was sent in an ambulance to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where a biopsy was done the following Monday.

“They discovered that it was cancer—a 10 centimeter tumor that was pushing on my windpipe and making it difficult for air and food to get through,” he says. “I was told there was not a guarantee with surgical removal and that chemotherapy was the best option, so that Friday, they decided to begin my treatment.”

However, knowing that Crosby was only 29 at the time, and that his diagnosis came only six months after marrying his wife, Amber, his oncologist Stephen Medlin, MD, an associate professor of medicine at UC and a member of the UC Cancer Institute specializing in hematologic malignancies, asked about their desire to have a family.

“Although my wife was pregnant with our son Isaac at the time, we knew that chemotherapy could cause infertility down the road and so we knew that we needed to work with oncofertility services to collect a sperm sample in case we had trouble conceiving,” Crosby says, adding that his father had to deliver his sample to the repository. “We were really laughing about that awkward moment, and I was enjoying teasing him about it. I kept telling him, ‘Be careful! You have your future grandchildren in your pocket.’”

Just four days after his diagnosis, Crosby began his treatment which consisted of weeklong hospital stays with a 24-hour chemo drip. He would complete one week of treatment and then rest for three. During these weeks, he would have almost daily appointments for blood tests, blood transfusions and other necessary medications for his treatment. From January to May 2013, he had five rounds of chemo with PET scans conducted throughout to make sure the treatment was working.

However, one week after Crosby’s treatment was completed, yet another obstacle hit his family. Isaac was delivered early, weighing only 1 pound, 2 ounces. He died 19 days later.

“It was certainly a lot to deal with in our lives,” he says. “It was difficult to watch my wife go through it all, too. I was feeling bad physically but then the emotional toll was very trying as well.”

After enduring the tough times, Crosby says the cancer is gone thanks to his team at the institute, and successful in vitro fertilization has given the Crosbys twin girls Addison and Samantha to remind them why life is so great.

“I can’t say enough wonderful things about Dr. Medlin and the rest of my care providers and the staff at UC,” he says. “The staff always talked to me about how great it was to have a patient that had a great attitude, but there wasn’t a single staff member, nurse or physician that didn’t make my time there joyous. While their job was to take care of me, they never hesitated to make sure that Amber, who never left my side, had everything she needed.

“When I was done with treatment, I truly missed them like I was missing friends, and I’m always happy to see them all when I come for follow up treatment—of course now, they give me a hard time if don’t bring the girls along. In fact, last time I came for an appointment, it was a good minute before they even said hi to me because they were fawning over Addison and Samantha. I had to say, ‘Hey now! I’m the patient.’ I live in Hamilton, and it was and still is well worth the haul down to UC Medical Center for the treatment team. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

 

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