Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cancer update

How weird it that title? I didn't update last night because I was just too exhausted. The news from Georgetown is this: no chemo or radiation needed. I am actually is stage 3 with my follicular lymphoma, and since this is such a slow growing cancer, studies show that it is better to just
watch it and wait. My doctor, who happens to be the "lymphoma guy" said that he has one patient who has had a swollen lymph node with follicular lymphoma in her stomach area for 6 years and they haven't had to do anything but watch to be sure that it doesn't grow. So that's what we'll do for me. I'll get CT scans every 3 months and measure the active lymph nodes to be sure that they aren't growing. If they do start to show more activity, then we will proceed with treatment. But treatment will probably not be chemo or radiation. They have newer types of treatment for lymphoma which, I believe he said, one is antibiotics. Isn't this all strange?
Before I have always thought that if you have cancer that you have to get rid of it.  And if the doctor says that nothing should be done, than that would mean that you don't have a chance. Well, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. 
I asked my doctor after he told me all of this, "You mean that I can have stage 3 cancer and walk around and...," and he continued, "and live a normal life." I asked if I should change my diet any, and confessed that I drink two diet cokes a day. He said no and that I just need to live a normal life. What a lot to process! 
So, I will live my life with cancer. I have no symptoms, and it doesn't have to slow me down any. Isn't that weird? So instead of thinking about cancer as we always have, I guess now we can think about cancer differently. Any every year that I don't need treatment, more advances will be made in treatment options. How lucky I am to live one hour away from the "lymphoma guy!" I gave him a hug when I left, I was so relieved that for now don't need treatment. I guess that my students at school will have to put up with me as their teacher for the rest of the year! And our trip out west this summer is back on. Good news.

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