Victor and I met with my oncologist this morning. We were both immediately impressed with her—it helps that she came highly recommended, sure, but in normal conversation the woman is obviously brilliant and very kind. Also, she reminded me of my “auntie” Claire and I liked her right away because of that too.
She asked a lot of questions about me and my life in general, went over some of my medical history and then started in with the radiologists’ and pathologists’ reports.
My tumor measures approximately the size of an orange. AN ORANGE! My god, is it any wonder I’ve been a bitch for so long?
The type of lymphoma I’ve got is B-cell (not T-cell, apparently important), and the other notable characteristic is something called CD20. This means that my lymphoma responds well to chemotherapy. In fact, Dr. O says that radiation and surgery pretty much won’t work for most lymphomas; chemo is the only way to go.
I was actually a little disappointed to hear this, because I so want to get rid of my back pain and I figured surgery would be the quickest way to do that. However, Dr. O promised that I’ll notice the tumor shrinking after the FIRST chemo treatment. THE FIRST ONE! I can live with that timing.
The bad part, of course, is that the type of chemotherapy I’ll be given comes with all the traditional side effects: nausea, fatigue, and hair loss, to name a few. I was hoping not to have to deal with the hair loss, but no luck. You know how some people look surprisingly beautiful bald, like you suddenly notice how beautiful their facial features are? That ain’t me. You know those guys who shave their heads because they think they’ll look so cool, but instead you see how oddly-shaped their head is, full of dents and scars, and how much they really shouldn’t have shaved their heads? That is me. I’m not going to look good bald. Trust me on this one.
Alright, so my first chemotherapy treatment is tomorrow morning. Dr. O says I should plan on getting a wig immediately, because my hair will probably start falling out very soon. So, ladies… time for a wig shopping party! I’m not sure I’ll be a wig-wearer, but I’d like to be prepared. Vic wants me to get three wigs—one in my natural color, one very long blond wig and a very long red wig. The man is deluded, clearly, if he thinks I might honor this request—and if a single one of you takes his side I’ll make sure you regret it. I’ve got some powerful people on my side these days.
I’ll do chemo treatments every three weeks for a few months. I suppose then we’ll see how things are progressing and decide what the next course of action should be. Ideally, the chemo will make the tumor disappear and the cancer go into remission, but that’s the VERY best case scenario.
Generally speaking, and considering it’s cancer we’re dealing with, today’s appointment had lots of good news.
- Mine is one of the cancers most responsive to treatment.
- Chemotherapy success with my type of lymphoma is 85-90 percent.
- I’m starting treatment immediately, and should see some changes immediately—not all of these changes thrill me, but the idea of being able to sleep in my bed again is a dream come true.
- I get to have a wig shopping party wit’ my girls!
When it comes to cancer, I guess we have to pick out the least bad of the awful. There ya go.