Sunday, July 22, 2007

And now for something completely different

this is one of those awfully awkward posts that i wish i didn't have to write. but i received some news this week that basically demands that i reach out to you -- all my wonderful, loving and supportive friends. above all, this is not something to write about lightly. it even seems a little inappropriate to break such personal news this way. so please allow me to explain why i am broaching this via broadcast e-mail, and you will not only understand, but you will also forgive me for doing so.

so, what am i hinting at?

this week, after many months of various medical procedures, from my ankles to my skin to my kidneys, i got the astounding news that my doctors have detected something new and completely different going on in me. they actually detected it just prior to my ankle procedure back in march in a standard pre-surgical chest x-ray. they found that my lymph nodes were swollen. but based on the very mild nature of the swelling, we decided let's go ahead with the ankle and deal with this other stuff down the road. this week, we finally came to that road and i got a real diagnosis.

of course, as many of you now know, the ankle itself led to its fair share of problems. i wasn't able to walk for several weeks, at least three weeks longer than expected. then the wound wouldn't heal properly so i had to get that treated. along the way, i started to get blood in my urine, and we found that i had (not one, but three) kidney stones.

the next step was to surgically implant some tubes in my kidneys in order to drain them, and then i went through a series of concentrated ultra-sound treatments to break up the stones themselves. when i was finally pissing normally and able to walk around on my own without support any more, it was time to return to the lymph nodes.

the doctors did a lymph node biopsy last week. that also involved another round of surgery, to make a small incision at the base of my neck in order collect tissue samples from the area of my chest that was affected. five days later, the wound had healed up quite nicely but the results of the biopsy were in.

what did they find?

it is hodgkins disease (a.k.a. hodgkins lymphoma, a.k.a. cancer of the lymph nodes). yes kids, the next chapter of my never-ending medical saga is titled how i got cancer and lived to tell about it.

okay, that's a little flippant. but there's also a seed of truth in there. i will live to tell about it. this lymphoma is in a very early, and therefore very treatable, stage. catching it via chest x-ray was a supremely lucky windfall because it would have been much harder to treat if we hadn't discovered it until i had more serious symptoms. the down side is that, even so, the treatment is in fact chemotherapy. it will take twelve treatments over the next six months. but the doctors are completely confident that we'll beat this and the hodgkins will go into total remission, hopefully for the rest of my life.

so yes, take a deep breath,
and let out a big sigh of relief

:::::: ahhhhhhh ::::::

i'm not going to go into all the details of what hodgkins is exactly, how it affects the body, and how it differs from other non-hodkins type lymphomas. but there are lots of websites where one can learn more about this, if interested. (i was!) these sites are particularly helpful:
okay, it probably goes without saying, but in the coming months i will be turning to my community of friends and family for more support than ever before. for the time being, i am still in the early process of learning about the disease, the treatment and what else is going to be involved. i wish it were possible for me to call each and every one of you to go over all the details, or to discuss what specifically i need in the short term.

but to my incredible fortune, there are hundreds of you who are now aware, and concerned, and want to know what you can do to help. getting into all of that one-on-one, especially at the moment, would exhaust me, and exhaustion is something i will have plenty of without even trying.

in the next few days, i will be speaking with some of you directly. i believe then, i will probably ask some of you to help me out as "communication coordinators" who will help keep everyone else informed of developments. someone else will coordinate the details of post-treatment care. someone else will coordinate meals. someone else will coordinate movie nights at my house. etc. etc. get the idea. so please, stay tuned. as they used to say on the radio, "more bulletins at once." peace out, frank


Post a Comment

<< Home