Mantle Cell Lymphoma: Dave's Story

In 2017 Dave Carson noticed a little knot on the inside of his right elbow. He didn’t think anything of it, “but my daughters come over every Tuesday for a family night, and after a month or so, they said, ‘Dad, you need to go to the doctor for that.’”

Dave and his wife, Gwen, have been in the bakery and deli business in the Buffalo area for over 36 years. They started out in 1982 selling baked goods and wholesaling to grocery stores. Now they have 12 great employees and stay pretty busy. “But our real pride and joy, the light of our lives, is our family: five daughters, their husbands and eight grandkids. They all live nearby. We see them a lot,” says Dave. Three of their daughters sometimes work at the bakery with them.

Dave did as his daughters asked and went for a sonogram and biopsy of that lump. It was confirmed: cancer. “Mantle cell lymphoma,” says Dave. “It’s kind of a rare one. We headed straight for Roswell Park. We’ve been doing what we have to ever since.”

Dave’s treatment started with a new type of chemotherapy that he was able to receive through a clinical trial. Then, he underwent a bone marrow transplant and is recovering from that now. “His energy isn’t 100 percent yet, but he feels pretty good, and we know he’s getting there,” Gwen says.

At first, the diagnosis really hit their close family hard. But their unwavering support rallied Dave as he made it through each day of treatment.  “My girls call me every day,” he says. “For a while I couldn’t see them or the grandkids because my white blood cell count was too low, and every visitor brought a risk of infection or illness.” With that now behind them, they get together all the time.

“Gwen and I have been positive about fighting this cancer since the start. We know we’re going to win this battle. Our faith is very strong, and one way or another, I’m going to be healed,” Dave says.

“The doctors at Roswell Park have been so great. They’re always positive. Everybody at Roswell Park — and I mean everybody — has a great attitude. Everybody’s uplifting. There’s nothing they’re not doing well. I know most of my nurses by name now. It’s like they have to pass a niceness test to work there.”

“I’m so grateful to have Roswell Park. It is such a great facility. It’s all about beating the disease there. And for the constant support of Gwen and our family. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”

Dave has no bitterness, no anger about the fact that he got cancer. “I’m just going to deal with this. It’s another mountain in life to climb, and we’re going to do it.

“Not succeeding is not an option because my grandchildren need me. I want to see them grow up. I have a lot of goals and positive reasons to keep going.”

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Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.