Our Story: Eric Most
My husband Eric and I got married on June 11, 2006. Very shortly after we were married, he caught a cold and then began to cough.
He kept telling me that it was the last remaining part of the cold, and that it happens to him every time he gets one, and that it would go away. After over a month, with the cough not going away, I knew something was wrong, although he did not think it was a big deal. After two months of his cough getting worse, I tried to convince him to get it checked out, and one night after he was having severe chest pains, we ended up at Terem, a small emergency room in Jerusalem. At Terem, they told us that Eric had severe pneumonia. I was not convinced, but it was worth taking the antibiotics and seeing what would happen. After eight days, and no change, we went back and then they told us something was wrong and we needed to go for testing immediately. We had a lung cat scan on a Wednesday night and they gave us the results Friday morning. This was the very end of December 2006.
This was the beginning of our long journey ahead. Since he was diagnosed December 31, 2006 with Stage 2B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, we have been through so much. We had the great pleasure of already being pregnant a few weeks at the time we received the news, and it was a source of light and inspiration.
When we first found out it was Hodgkin’s, the nurses were excited for us because usually it has a 98% cure rate. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all for my husband.
The next year after we found out Eric had cancer, we spent most of our days in a hospital bed while he got chemotherapy. He received multiple types of chemo, each one stronger than the next, because it was not making the cancer smaller or affecting it very much. In between all of this, Eric went into remission for the first time when our son Yaacov Binyamin (Coby) was born. This lasted for three months and then he relapsed. After heavier doses of chemotherapy, Eric received an autologous bone marrow transplant (stem cells from his own body were removed and then given back to him). He was hospitalized for a month, while our son was about 6 months old, and when he was released from the hospital, he could barely move.
Every step took so much out of him. He was such a strong person when I met him and to see him so weak was very hard for me, but I always kept smiling. I was just thankful to still have him by my side.
Three months after the autologous transplant, after just barely getting somewhat back to himself, we got the news again that the cancer had returned. This was very scary because it is not such a common thing to happen and definitely not so quickly after a transplant. We weighed all the options we had, and thank G-d, we have amazing doctors here in Israel and more than anything we know we have G-d on our side. Now it was time to have a bone marrow transplant from a donor. We decided the best place to do this was at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, two hours away from where we live. I came almost every day to visit him as we had good friends who were kind enough to have my son and me sleep in their house so it would be an easier commute for me. At this point, our son was 17 months old. He was not able to see his abba, (Hebrew for dad), again for another month. Eric had the transplant on Purim, a Jewish time of healing, and got out on the eve of Passover. Amazing to have a true “freedom” that year.
Our son Coby, who had not been able to see his abba for a month, was overwhelmed with joy when we brought Eric out of the hospital to the car. I had Coby waiting outside the hospital in his stroller so he could see him. He started squealing for joy and tried to jump out of his stroller to embrace his abba.
For the first 30 minutes of the car ride, Coby would not let go of Eric’s hand. When we got home he just went and laid next to him on the couch for hours just holding him. It was so precious. After the transplant, Eric received mantle radiation. Usually they do not do this to younger patients because of the effect it has on the body and organs, but this was our best shot at the time. Unfortunately, they had to stop the radiation at the time as Eric got very sick since his immune system was so affected. But Eric went into remission for another 9 months thankfully. During that time, I became pregnant again, this time with twins.
Very shortly after hearing the great news that we were expecting twins, they told us yet again that the cancer had returned. It was then that we started with DLIs (donor lymphocyte infusions). The same donor, who we had not met yet, donated more bone marrow and Eric took it in small doses several times. The DLIs worked to decrease the tumors that had appeared, but then the cancer came back, so Eric was given DLIs in a higher amount. This served to put him in remission once again.
It is now almost eight years later. We have three beautiful children, two boys and a girl. They are Coby, 7, and 4 years old twins, Gavirel and Adina. They are our life.