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Patient Stories

From Dire Plight to Miraculous Recovery: Ibrahim’s Battle With Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

car t-cell therapy

In April 2015, 46-year-old Ibrahim noticed a small bump on his neck. While initially unconcerned, since the bump not only persisted, but also grew, he decided to seek medical attention near his hometown of Arraba in the West Bank. A local doctor concluded Ibrahim had an infection, and the bump seemed to disappear after he was treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, three months later, the bump returned, bigger than before.

Ibrahim reached out to local doctors yet again, and this time, after undergoing a CT test, a widespread metastatic cancer was detected. When doctors could not provide further information or treatment options, Ibrahim sought medical attention in Nablus, where he underwent two biopsies, one of which was conducted without sedation, causing him great pain. Waiting for a conclusive diagnosis, Ibrahim was devastated, lamenting his dire plight, but found the strength to push on and fight for recovery. When he was finally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and informed that his condition was treatable, Ibrahim began undergoing chemotherapy and targeted therapy sessions. However, following an initial period of remission, his disease relapsed, and his doctors predicted his cancer would never be fully cured.

In 2018, after a particularly aggressive period in which the cancer had spread, it seemed that all hope was lost. Thus, when a friend suggested that Ibrahim should reach out to Sheba, a medical center he used to work for and described as “one of the best in the world,” Ibrahim was quick to act.

“It was then I discovered care that disregards religion, language, race or gender,” says Ibrahim. “As a man of faith, I was raised on the principles of grace and compassion, and the humane way I was treated shows how our innate nature can transcend all corporeal and practical circumstances.”

Shortly after arriving in Sheba, Ibrahim met with Sheba doctors, who put him on a combined chemotherapy regimen and targeted therapy. “At Sheba, I was not only impressed by the advanced medicine and facilities, but also grateful to discover care that prioritized my wellbeing and minimized pain and discomfort, recalls Ibrahim.”

While the treatment achieved a short remission, the cancer soon returned, and Ibrahim took a turn for the worse. Determined to help Ibrahim, Dr. Avraham Avigdor, Director of Sheba’s Hematology Institute, recommended cutting-edge CAR T-cell immunotherapy, which involves reprogramming the patient’s own immune T-cells to attack cancerous tissue.

After starting treatment, something happened that surprised even Sheba’s seasoned clinicians – Ibrahim’s body responded exceptionally well to the advanced therapy, and his cancer had disappeared entirely.

For the first time in many years, Ibrahim was able to go back to work and once again pursue his passion for singing.

“For me, Sheba was more than a hospital, but became a home away from home. I’d like to express my gratitude to the entire Global Patient Services staff for the compassionate, devoted treatment I received from admission to discharge,” said Ibrahim, “as well as to my beloved family that was by my side and supported me every step of the way.”

“For those facing similar challenges, my message is: don’t lose faith! I hope my story will be shared with people across our region so they’ll learn how healthcare can bring us all together even during trying times.”

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