At first I heard nothing else as my doctor gave me the news. But the reality began to sink in after a few days, diffuse large B cell lymphoma.
How could that be?
Last summer, 9 months ago, I listened as another doctor told me I had aggressive prostate cancer, and the best option was to surgically remove the cancer. I had recovered well. My PSA was zero. No, the previous cancer had not returned; this is a completely different cancer, and even more perilous to my health.
So the last two weeks have been filled with blood tests, and CT and PET scans, and doctor appointments, and counseling. I have a good prognosis with the test results from last Friday revealing that in addition to cancer in lymph tissue in my stomach, I have cancer in the lymph node under my left arm. Fortunately, miraculously, this cancer was found before I have any symptoms, and with little dispersal through my body. I have heard too many stories of patients who were diagnosed too late. DLBL is a serious threat; it can be fatal.
I am hopeful. My oncologist is confident that the cancer can be, will be, cured.
Next Monday I begin chemotherapy with a combination of four drugs. Every three weeks I will get an infusion that will take 3-4 hours. Nasty side effects may follow each week following treatment. The doctor said I may need radiation following the chemotherapy. And I will have lowered immunity with the risk of infection.
I got my second vaccination against Covid in late February. Supposedly, I am immune. I was ready to break out of isolation, see my friends, invite them to my home, eat in restaurants, go to the theater, hug my granddaughter. But I have something new stalking me.
So I have a new journey ahead, not unlike the multitude of times I escorted parishioners through this perilous land. Except this time, it's my journey.
Of course I won't be alone. My neighbor said I certainly have more resources than the typical cancer patient: world-class medical facilities, amazing physicians, prayer partners including my Buddhist and Muslim neighbors, my wife and family, and my faith in God's healing.
I expect to be riding a roller-coaster of emotions, and sometimes the future may appear murky. But I have hope that I will be twice-cured.