All this time, Stephen had been serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York, but with his condition continuing to worsen, Stephen came home early from his mission to receive medical treatment.
The diagnosis wasn’t good. The doctors said that Stephen had Classic or Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin Lymphoma, the most common type of Hodgkin Lymphoma. The Griener family learned that Stephen had two tumors inside his chest, pressing against his heart and lungs. Fortunately, for most patients who receive chemotherapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma, most get better. Unfortunately for the Griener family, Stephen was one of the ones who did not get better. After finishing his 12 chemo treatments on Aug. 31 Stephen had his last PET scan which showed that the cancer had started to grow once more.
Now, Stephen is facing going through treatment all over again. This time he will go through three or four treatments of ICE chemotherapy – named for the drugs ifosfamide, cisplatin, and etoposide which are used specifically in this type of chemotherapy — to try and kill the cancer. He has currently gone through the first two treatments.
After going through ICE chemotherapy Stephen will be hospitalized for a month while going through intense chemotherapy. When this is done, Stephen will have stem cells, which were taken from his body before the treatment, inserted back into his bloodstream while he spends another month in a sterile and filtered hospital room. Even when he’s able to return home, Stephen will need to plan on at least 100 days recovery time where he will need someone to be with him 24 hours a day because of his weak immune system.
While this treatment should rid Stephen of his cancer, it is far from cheap. Even with the insurance company chipping in to pay most of the bill, the Grieners will need to pay upward of $20,000 for this procedure. Friends and family are stepping up and doing what they can to help — they’ve even set up a blog account at www.supportstephen.wordpress.com which has information including: Stephen’s story, a fund-raiser being put on by the Hilltop Aquatics Swim Team this Saturday – Nov. 26, and ways to donate money to help Stephen out.