NOTE: This was the first post in Five Cent Thoughts. There have been periodic updates both on my cancer care and on drafting a book.
I originally thought I would use it for putting down some thoughts on the state of higher education – as an addition to my consulting practice. But things have taken a turn. In the late Spring, after we returned from San Miguel de Allende, I began to go through a series of tests for Anemia. In the space of a couple of months – I was poked and prodded by a couple of different kinds of physicians. I had so many blood tests that at one point in July my right vein looked like I was a heroin addict. In addition, I had a Catscan, 2 Petscans, a Colonoscopy and Endoscopy, a MUGGA and an ultrasound and even a lymph biopsy.
My symptoms are pretty simple – I fatigue easily and doing all sorts of simple tasks is more complex than it was a year ago.
All came to the conclusion that I had developed some form of Lymphoma (there are lots of types). At the end of September I got an infusion port installed in the anticipation that I would begin chemo-therapy. Also at the end of September I went to the Stanford Lymphoma Clinic for an evaluation by their world class specialists. My two days at Stanford were amazing. The two doctors I met with and the other members of the care team were excellent.
The definition of what type of lymphoma I have influences the type of treatment I will get. Both the Sacramento and Stanford team came down to two variations – R-CHOP (which is made up of a monoclonal antibody -Rituximab (Rituxan), three other chemicals (cyclophosphamide,doxorubicin hydrochloride and vincristine (Oncovin, Vincasar PFS) plus a steroid – prednisolone) and RB (Rituximab, Bendamustine) which is considered to be a bit more gentle.
The second Pet Scan I had at the end of September confirmed that I was a better candidate for R-CHOP. In the next few days I will begin to get infusions – which at this point are supposed to be six sessions (one every three weeks). At the end of the first couple of rounds they will do a recheck to see if the medicine is helping to regress my symptoms.
One of the things I am enormously grateful for at this point is a large and diffuse support network in the US and in Mexico. It is truly gratifying to hear support from a wide range of friends and associates. Last week, after Stanford, our daughter compiled notes and sent it to a list of more than 50 people. I am wary of overwhelming those friends with details. So I thought it would be a good idea to set up this URL in my site and then simply send it to all the people on the list – if you want to follow my progress – I will try to post a couple of times a week – so simply bookmark the URL and check in. Comments are always welcome.
One other comment – one thing a disease like this offers you is a better understanding of gratitude. My sister Nancy recently presented me with a Waterford container with a series of thoughts and prayers which she had collected from many of the friends I know. Each was transcribed on origami paper. I keep it near me in my office at home.