Friday, March 29, 2013

Some bad news . . .

We just got some bad news. It appears that my cancer has returned. We had a CT-scan a few weeks ago that showed some small changes, and then a PET-scan last week showed that there are some small areas of activity in locations consistent with lymphoma. We will do a biopsy to make sure that is what it is, but the doctors are fairly sure. On the positive side of things, (reading between the doctors statements) I don't know that we could have caught it much sooner.

We just met with the doctor yesterday and heard the proposed treatment (the goal is still a complete cure) plan. Assuming it is lymphoma, the plan is to have 2 or 3 months of chemotherapy. The chemo will be different than last time, stronger maybe, and with potentially different side-effects. The goal of this chemo is to shrink the cancer back as much as possible. After the chemo, the plan is to do a stem-cell transplant. We will find out more detailed information about that, but the basic idea is that they extract some of my stem cells from my blood (after injecting something that makes my bone marrow release them into the blood stream) and then freeze them. Then I get 3-days of super intense chemo in the hospital, basically killing all of the cancer and also bone marrow and other good things in my body. Then they thaw my stem cells and inject them back into my body, where they slowly start replenishing the good things that my body needs. It sounds like the whole process can take around 4 weeks, from intense chemo until I am well enough to leave the hospital. The Cancer center here is where this all will take place, so I won't have to worry as much about being in a normal hospital with other diseases and infections to avoid during the recovery.

That is basically where we are at now. It is all very overwhelming, daunting and soul-crushing if we think about it all at the same time, so I think we are going to try and take it one day at a time. We have great support from the ward and family, the main worry is getting this all done before moving to Mississippi, or figuring out some way to delay my start date if necessary. Not to mention all of the normal complications of moving and switching jobs.  It will be a tough road, tougher in part because some of it we already traveled (chemo) and it was no fun at all.

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