• Cancer Patient Stories

    Providing inspiration following cancer diagnosis

For Kelly McDonell, the pain began in January 2020. The 49-year-old teacher and mother of two, knew something was amiss.

A scan identified several lesions on her spleen, although McDonell's physician was not too worried. Soon, McDonell found herself at the emergency room "in the worst pain ever," she says.

"I thought my spleen had burst. I thought I was dying," recalls the Jacksonville, Florida native.
A subsequent scan indicated no lesions. McDonell was told it was a muscle spasm and given pain pills. A second opinion brought recommendations of a plant-based diet and various supplements. But the pain never improved.

After several more visits to the hospital, McDonell knew she needed a different approach. Through her husband's employer, she learned Mayo Clinic was an option.

"Within a week of coming to Mayo Clinic I was diagnosed with diffused large b cell lymphoma and was in treatment," says McDonell, who began chemotherapy and radiation.

"I would not have made it to my fiftieth birthday had it not been for Mayo," says McDonell, who is today, living life to the fullest.

"I feel great. I walk three miles several times a week at the beach. I'm trying to learn how to vlog and thinking about starting a travel channel," she says.

Though her last scan showed McDonell had one small lesion remaining on her spleen, she's not letting it get her down. "I will re-scan in three months but I'm not sitting around waiting for the perfect scan. I'm just living my life and hope to be an inspiration to others."