In Kinder’s case, that was Stage 4.
“When I felt the lump, I thought the worst,” he said. “But I wanted to stay optimistic. In the back of my mind I think I was prepared for it, but I was in a bit of denial, too”
The lump he had felt was his spleen, an organ often involved in mantle cell lymphoma. The first day led to a series of tests and scans.
“When we left that morning, I was not prepared for all of that,” Ava Kinder said. “I thought we were just going to go over and get back home.”
Kinder’s stay extended to almost two weeks as doctors began chemotherapy right away, even before the test results were finished.
The couple worried about telling their daughter, Jennifer, and Rick’s mother, who lives nearby and is 93 years old. They all handled the news with the same resolve as the couple.
The chemotherapy treatments put a strain on Kinder’s body.
“It was pretty much the strongest they had there,” he said. Ports were inserted in his chest to allow the doctors to withdraw blood for tests while injecting the treatment.
The chemotherapy lasted four or five days, then Kinder was allowed to go home for two weeks to regain his strength before returning for another round of treatment. The therapy worked well, and instead of the six sessions originally scheduled, Kinder was able to finish in four.
The treatment schedule took a toll on the couple’s strength. Through it all, Kinder remained upbeat. His attitude helped others.
“I wanted to quit my job,” said Ava, who now works at Danville Area Community College. “He wouldn’t let me. I had just started Master Gardener classes in Champaign, but he wouldn’t let me quit those, either. And I’m glad I didn’t. It let me get away from the cancer worries. It served as my support system.”