Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cancer Recurrence: Reason 2 (from last post)

Tuesday evening, December 14th, I found a large mass just below my right armpit.  I thought, "What the hell is that?  ...no, don't have one here (the left side).  It's pretty big and I couldn't believe I was just finding it.  I called the doctor from work on Wednesday and they set up an appointment for Thursday... which was going to be ugly weatherwise, but I didn't want to wait until the following Tuesday.  I didn't tell mom what I'd found, wanted to wait to see what the doctor said.  I was concerned because of it's position in the lymph area... I had a bad feeling.

Last December I went in with a swelling at my neck/shoulder area that turned out to be nothing.  My doctor wasn't impressed... said I'd have to do better than that.  *lol*  I was hoping this would be the same.

This time, he was impressed.  Actually seemed a little surprised and concerned.  I don't think he expected this.  He said it was definitely something and it has gone into the lymph system.  He mentioned possibly doing a bone marrow test, won't decide until my other tests come in and have a better idea of what we're dealing with.  I said, "I hear bone marrow tests hurt!?" He replied, "Well, you know, umm... yeah, it hurts."  That's what I love about Dr. Z, he tells me the truth... honest and up front.  I stopped at mom & dad's on the way home to let them know what was going on.

I always heard once it hits your lymph system, it's all over with... it spreads like wildfire through your body.

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History
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Some of you are aware that I have Lymphoma (a form of Cancer), and that I have had it going on 12 years now. For those who didn't... It took five years to be diagnosed... it started in 1999, it first looked like ringworm or something akin to it. In 2000, I was treated for ringworm, they lanced it, treated for fungus, shot it with steroids... nothing seemed to clear it up. Then in 2004, Dec. 10, I was sent for a biopsy; on December 29th, I received the call. Cancerous.


At first I was diagnosed as stage 4 and treated with CHOP chemotherapy.  Pretty severe.  Turned out I was slightly misdiagnosed.  The doctor I started seeing down here in NC stopped the chemo and did more tests because things didn't seem right.  The original doctor saw spots on my lungs and presumed they were cancerous, turned out those spots were only scar tissue from when I had severe pneumonia in 1991.  My lymphoma is rare and indolent (slow-moving), it has stayed on my arm area, only moving from below the elbow to above the elbow over 11 years.  Other than the initial chemo, I have had two series of localized radiation a couple of years ago, but that's it.  It has been managable, I saw my oncologist once or twice a year, had bloodwork done, a scan once a year for the first three years... the usual "keep an eye on it" stuff.

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On 12/21/10, I had an initial consultation for a biopsy.  We want to make sure this is the same lymphoma or has it mutated, or is it something entirely different.

On 12/22/10, I had a PET scan.

On 12/30/10, I had pre-op testing and consultation.

Tuesday, 1/4/11, I have Biopsy/Surgery.  He couldn't do a simple biopsy because of where it is located.  He's going to go in to cut out a few chunks for analysis and if it looks fairly clear and easy to excise, he may just take the whole mass out.  My surgery is scheduled for 7:15am, but I have to be there at 5:15am... which means mom & I have to leave about 4:30 in the morning. Ugh!!

On 1/11/11, I have a post-op follow-up in the morning, then I meet with my oncologist, Dr. Z for test results and treatment options.

So extra prayers will be much appreciated.