8am came quickly Friday morning. Aunt Barb arrived at 7:30am, and we gave quick instructions and ran out the door.
Dr. Alex Spira is a tall guy, with a shaved head just like Peter. He’s a very funny and personable guy, and we really enjoyed his candor.
So the news. Large B-Cell type non-Hodgkins Stage 1 Lymphoma. This is the most common type of Lymphoma, and Stage 1 is the earliest stage. This needs to be confirmed by a full-body PET scan, which Jen will have on Wednesday March 19th at noon, along with some blood work and a Chemo Class (you need to learn HOW to do chemo?!?). Treatment rate, not survival rate, for this type of lymphoma caught at this stage is 70-80%. That means after treatment, 70-80% of patients never see a recurrence or new tumors ever again. GREAT NEWS!
Treatment, which will begin March 31st, will be CHOP+R. Google away, I don’t know a lot about it, but it is the standard treatment these days. 4 drugs via IV, plus an immunotherapy drug called Rituxan. The treatment will be 1 day of drugs, and 3 weeks off, done 4 to 6 times. We’re hoping for 4, but the shrinking of the tumor and clean PET scans will determine the number of cycles. June 2, 2008 will be her last Chemo day if we go 4 cycles, July 14, 2008 if we go 6 cycles. Let’s hope for 4! After Chemo, there will be radiation treatment, and I’m not sure how long it will take, but not nearly as long as the Chemo.
Despite the relatively good news, this is gonna suck. Jen needs to have a bone marrow biopsy done on Monday March 24th at 11am, and she’s very apprehensive about it. Prayers are requested! Chemo starts Monday March 31st at 8:30am. Jen’s parents, Bill and Carolyn, are planning on being here Thursday March 27th so they can be there for a Port installation, a sort of hole in Jen’s chest where they will put the Chemo drugs in, on Friday March 28th at 7am. Jen’s a little freaked out about that too. Plus we have no idea what the chemo will do to her, and when. Some claim extreme exhaustion the day of and days following the chemo. Others say it starts a week later. Some even say they don’t have much of a reaction at all. But all agree that Jen won’t have much hair, so we’ll get to that point later.
We are in Boston over the weekend, our previously planned house-hunting-turned-cancer-fighting trip. I come back Sunday night, Jen and the kids back on Tuesday night. Our basement is being finished, just to add a little more stress and dust to our lives. 🙂
Your continued prayers and concerns are appreciated!