Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And the Envelope, Please

The Oscar-nominated stars have nothing on me. Stars endure weeks of anticipation from nomination until announcement of winners. I've hung in for weeks between initial diagnosis (mantle cell lymphoma), test results and treatment recommendation. I wish that I could say that it's an honor just to be nominated for this disease. I am, however, in very good company of other stellar human beings who've received a point from the fickle finger of fate.

I went yesterday for the dreaded bone marrow biopsy, which will determine if the lymphoma has spread to the bone marrow. On Thursday, I go in for the final test, the spinal tap, which will show if the lymphoma has entered the central nervous system.

I start chemotherapy on Monday, March 12. (The doctors wanted me to start on March 5, but I didn't want to miss Paula's debut at The Ice House.) The regimen is called R-CHOP, a combination that's proven very successful in treatment of both mantle cell and follicular lymphoma. The C, H and O stand for various cancer-fighting chemicals, the P is for a steroid that's taken post infusion. The R stands for
Rituximab, one of the latest new cancer fighting drugs. I like to call it a smart drug because unlike chemo drugs, which attack, the good and the bad cells, Rituximab zeroes in on the proteins of the bad cells.

And, to return to the Oscar analogy, I wish that there was just one "envelope" announcing the results and the treatment, but my life will temporarily be a series of mysterious envelopes.

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