MingMing ZHANG, Lymphoma Survivor
Even in a world city as progressive as Beijing, I found it difficult to get the care I needed when I found out I had lymphoma. I endured countless rounds of chemotherapy and my doctors were unable to treat my cancer successfully. I made the decision to come to the United States.
One U.S. medical center refused to accept me, saying they couldn’t treat me any differently than the treatment I was already receiving in my native country. Then a friend of mine who had moved to Southern California mentioned City of Hope. When I reached out, City of Hope’s Center for International Medicine did not hesitate and accepted me as an international patient.
Everyone at City of Hope, and the Center for International Medicine has been devoted to my healing with all their hearts and souls.
Two days after I arrived in Los Angeles, I was with my new oncologist, Elizabeth Budde, M.D., Ph.D., who wasted no time in getting me into chemotherapy. Everything was so efficient. Compared to my 27 days in the hospital in China, I was only required to stay five days at City of Hope. I was able to find a place nearby to recuperate. I realized that there are many Asian-Americans living near the hospital campus, which was a source of comfort for me, as I could speak my native language.
In June 2016, I received a cord blood stem cell transplant. Prior to the procedure, Dr. Budde arranged for me to have my eggs removed so that I could still have the option for children later. The most painful part of my treatment is now over. I have a new immune system and a new blood type. It’s a whole new me.
When I first became ill and considered coming to City of Hope, my parents did not want me to come, fearing for my health when traveling so far away. But they now see, as I do, that this was the best decision we could have made. Everyone at City of Hope, and the Center for International Medicine, has been devoted to my healing with all their hearts and souls. I have not seen the level of compassion, ethics and expertise anywhere else.
In China, my physician would spend less than 10 minutes with me at each visit. My City of Hope doctor spent at least 20 minutes, sometimes even an hour, with me each time and also made time to see me even on her nonclinic days. She took the time to get to know me as a person, which allowed her to provide more personalized treatment, customized just for me. That meant a lot to me. City of Hope is fabulous. My experience has been amazing.
Alex Tung, Leukemia Survivor
I began treatment a medical center, and it wasn't until after my first round of chemo and a month-long hospital stay that my doctors discovered I was suffering from a rare cancer called FLT3-mutated AML. The only way for me to survive this disease would be to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
I had no idea what to do. But I knew that City of Hope specialized in blood cancers, so I chose to begin treatment there.
From the moment I arrived at City of Hope, it felt different than any other hospital.
After explaining the services that would be available to me during my time at City of Hope, a staff member gave me a tour of the private room where I would be staying, the hospital facilities, cafeterias, rooms for rest and meditation, and the beautiful gardens and outdoor areas. I could tell that everyone at City of Hope was dedicated and to helping people like me battle and conquer cancer — and that was just on the first day!
I received a cord blood stem cell transplant in January 2015, and the procedure was a success. I attribute that success, first and foremost, to my doctors, and then to every staff member I encountered at City of Hope — from the top notch nurses, to the people in the admissions office, to the awesome in-hospital transporters, to the friendly volunteers, helpful schedulers, amazing custodial service employees and everyone in between.
Today, I am over two years post-transplant and I am happy to report that I am in remission. I am eternally grateful for everyone working hard to provide excellent care at City of Hope.