Minkin, who resides in Marenisco, Michigan, retired as a school principal almost four years ago. “Fishing and hunting were top items on my to-do list,” he said. “Cancer was not.” Three years ago, Minkin was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin T-cell lymphoma, a rare cancer requiring a complicated course of treatment. Despite repeated chemotherapy treatments to stop its growth, the disease returned with renewed strength. In search of more aggressive treatment, Minkin was referred to Marshfield Clinic.
Minkin was his own donor for the stem cell transplant, a procedure in which high doses of chemotherapy are used, sometimes with radiation therapy. A patient’s stem cells are removed or harvested from the circulating blood prior to treatment. Afterward, the cells are infused back into the patient’s blood stream, where they will settle in the bone marrow and begin to make blood cells. The transplant involves coordinating both hospital care and outpatient care until the immune system recovers.
“Caring for Roy required a coordinated team effort,” said Dr. Richard Mercier, M.D., oncology/hematology specialist and chair of the Oncology Department at Marshfield Clinic. “He lives in a more isolated area, so we needed to be able to work with him over a distance. Our ability to keep providers and patients connected through the Clinic’s regional center system and electronic health record made the difference.”
Minkin’s case required a team of medical specialists. Besides the stem cell transplant, he needed chemotherapy and radiation oncology, a more localized cancer treatment. These treatments were provided even during hospitalization.
“I’m like a specialist who comes in for the team from off the bench,” said Warren Olds, M.D., Marshfield Clinic radiation oncologist. “Our capabilities allow us to mobilize and respond when patients need us most. Here, specialists assisted by dedicated Clinic and hospital support staff are available, and state-of-the-art technology is aggressively supported. Patients know we have the resources to get done what needs to be done and in one place.”
“My doctors were able to work together to help me,” Minkin said. “For that, I am grateful.”