Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Non-Hodgkins Follicular Lymphoma

That is the diagnosis that I finally received on January 13, 2011. Treatment began on January 21, 2011. I have been told that it is very treatable. I am calm, for I know that it is all in the hands of my Heavenly Father. He is watching over me, and for that I am so very grateful.

My journey began when I received a call from my doctor on August 4, 2010. He said my red blood platelets (that facilitate clotting after being injured) were very low. He said they stood at 29,000 when the lowest of the normal range is 150,000, and he wanted me to see a Hematologist. I was feeling well, and had none of the symptoms they asked me about, such as fevers, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, low energy, etc.

After a CT scan they wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy and an axillary (lymph node under the arm) biopsy, but they showed nothing, and the rule-out diagnosis became ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura). I thought I had been snatched from Chemotherapy Hell and I was ridiculously happy.

However, as time went on and I went back in for follow-up checkups, it was evident that something was going on. The lymph nodes in my neck were swollen; when I looked in the mirrow I could see them. I was concerned and the doctors were concerned. So the next step was a PET/CT Scan (that is a story all by itself). The results called for another lymph node biopsy, this time from the groin area.

I was just praying to know the truth. So when I got the word, I was grateful. Now we all knew just who (or what) the enemy was and we could proceed to do something about it.

I have to tell you this about myself: I don't like drugs and I don't take them; well, I didn't take them until now. The day of my first treatment, my daughter observed that I probably had been given more drugs that I had taken in the last forty years. My family were surprised that I allowed myself to do chemotherapy; fact is, I have been quite surprised myself. I prayed long and hard about my options, and I feel that this is the way the Lord wants me to go. I have received many confirmations that this is so.

We never know what is around the corner. We never know just what unexpected event is going to change the course of our life. Just know that the unexpected is inevitable, and as my blog title says: Press forward with faith.

I hope to give a little running update on how things are going with me on this blog. I'm not sure it will be all that scintillating, since I am to keep myself in a mostly-quaranteed state, since I have little or no immune system and it is winter. I am receiving shots of antibodies every day for ten days after each cycle to build up my immune system, but it is winter and the bugs and yes, even the super bugs are on the loose. That is probably going to be my greatest challenge. It is my hope that I can yet remain useful during this quiet, contemplative time of my life.