Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Clarification

In the past week, several of my friends have contacted me and expressed concern for my health because they saw my post on this blog about how I'd caught a slight case of cancer over the winter, and how I'm now stopping by the hospital each day for a little blast of radiation. While it's true that it's t-cell lymphoma - real cancer - it's also true that it was detected very early, so dealing with it should be a simple and safe matter.

Here's the full story:  I found a tumor during the winter. It was around the time Hanna had her bad headache in New Mexico. I thought it was a swollen lymph gland. When it didn't go away after a while, I saw a doctor and we decided to fire up the scalpel and cut it out. The doctor didn't think it was cancerous, but she recommended we get it tested just to make sure. Turns out, it is a rare type of t-cell lymphoma. That news was a bit of a shock and it had me kind of worried, as most people would be. For a few days there, I found myself having to focus pretty hard to keep my mind from wandering off down all sorts of doomsday paths.

I was referred to an oncologist. It just so happens that the year that I was at Wyoming and second place at the NCAA Championships in the skate race, my (current) oncologist was at Dartmouth, and second place in the classic race. We've known each other a long time. So I went to his hospital and we did all kinds of tests, and my old friend and new oncologist said to me, "First of all, don't worry about this.  You're going to be fine. You caught it early so it hasn't gotten into your bloodstream or your lymphatic system yet and we've already removed the tumor so it'll be a simple matter of going through some radiation for a while this summer and that will take care of it - for sure - you don't need to worry about this."

So I'm not just being optimistic when I say this will not be a big deal. It truly is not a big thing - because we caught it early. The radiation I'm getting is tightly focused on the area on my arm where the tumor was found, and it's very possible that the cancer was already 100% removed in the surgery. The radiation we're doing now is just insurance, to make sure we zap every last possible cancer cell in that area that may have escaped the scalpel. I was told I may get a little radiation burn, but that will be about it. The doctors dealing with me are not at all worried, and neither am I. And neither should you. Thank you for your concern. It really means a lot to me. But I'm probably in more danger of getting hit by a car while riding my bicycle to the hospital each day than I am of having this lymphoma turn into something big and serious.

This is the tanning bed where I've been spending my free time lately. Maybe after all this is over I'll pick one of these rigs up for myself, just to mess around with. Friends could come over and we could have "Make Your Own Photons and Electrons" parties. I'm sure I could find a used one cheap on Craigslist.

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