When I first got my diagnosis, I knew I didn’t want to tell anyone (not even my parents) anything until I had a game plan and could answer questions. So, when Adam and I walked into Glenbrook Hospital for my first Heme-Onc (Hematology-Oncology) appointment, and my mom was on her way out, the door, we were a bit thrown. I of course lied, and said I was there for more bloodwork as they were still trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Thankfully, she didn’t question why Adam was with me on a weekday just for bloodwork. The entrance to the Kellogg Cancer Center is right across from the hospital entrance, so we had to pretend to be headed in a different direction until she was all the way in the parking lot. Really. Of all the people to run into! Once she was far enough away, we made our way back to where we were headed in the first place. Bullet dodged.
Oh, do I LOVE my oncologist! Dr. Gimelfarb is so fantastic! On Thursday, she answered most of my questions before I could even ask them. And best of all, she used the word CURABLE. That’s not a word oncologists use lightly. So, despite the scary sounding Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) growing in my body, I’m going to be absolutely fine. I’ll have six cycles of chemo, three weeks apart, starting April 13th. Yes, I’ll lose ALL my hair, but the anti-nausea meds are so good (and there are several I can take at the same time) that she doesn’t think I’ll puke. I’m thrilled about that, because that’s what I was most concerned about (at least, for the short-term). And, of course, the hair will grow back.
Interestingly, we found out that a good part of my tumor(s) was already dead. That’s thanks to the prednisone I’d been taking. Of course, it grows faster than prednisone alone can kill it, hence the rest of the chemo drugs I’ll get (the combo of drugs is called R-CHOP).
Friday, we went back to the Kellogg Cancer Center at Glenbrook for a bone marrow biopsy. If there’s any of the bad guys in there, they have to give me something extra, prophylactically, in my spine, so it doesn’t spread to my brain. Lovely. Glad we’re on top of that. So, yeah, that was interesting. Lots of numbing meds. But a really weird uncomfortable sensation (and gross clicking sound) to have someone sticking a big fat needle into my hip bone through the top of my tush. Now, those of you who know me, know that I’m a curvy gal. So, when Dr. G. was having difficulty feeling the iliac crest to find the right spot, she mentioned that I had a lot of “stuff.” I replied, “I know. I’m all about that bass.” Everyone in the room laughed, and she told the rest that I’m her favorite patient. So, our love is mutual. 🙂 When it was all done, she said it was one for the record books, because she basically went in blind. I’m very glad she knows what she’s doing and got the right spot. Then, she asked me, “Want to see the needle?” I said, “Yeah!” Holy cannoli is that thing ginormous! I immediately asked someone to grab my camera from my purse and snapped this:
She showed me the core sample that she was sending off to pathology too. It was very cool to see all that, especially after it was all over. I’m still quite sore today, but it’s not horrid. Just an ache like a really bad bruise (which, I suppose it is). I had to lay on my back to put pressure on the site for a while, so while I did, the nurse came in and taught me all about the treatments I’ll be getting, including showing me the port-a-cath I’ll be getting “installed” on Thursday. It’s where they’ll do blood draws and give me my chemo so they don’t have to put needles in my veins every time I go. Sounds good to me. Plus, when they put it in, I get the good, twilight drugs. Good times.
Original Comments from the CaringBridge Site:
You are awesome, Deb. Love your positive attitude! Thanks for sharing, will be following and sending good juju your way in copious amounts!
—Elizabeth Shepherd, April 7, 2015
Ha! All about that bass 😉 I truly believe that a connection with your dr makes all the difference!
—Kit Stadig, April 7, 2015
You are one brave lady! Only you could make us all laugh with your witty comments through all of this! I know you’ll beat this! Xoxo
—Carolyn Shoemaker, April 6, 2015
Thank God for Port-a-caths and anti nausea drugs! Wondered if they would use the Rituximab protocol – treatment has come a long way. So happy you have such an awesome Dr and medical team that makes all the difference.
—Michele Barbera, April 6, 2015
Deb, I love your sense of humor! Only you could turn a bone marrow biopsy into a fun outing for you AND your doctor! Keep smiling and keep sharing your story. It’s a win-win. xo
—Kathleen Schafer, April 6, 2015
Port-a-caths are the BEST! You are one brave and strong cookie. 🙂
—Lynette Connell, April 5, 2015
Hey they stuck a needle right in my nip–e, owwwww! —-So sorry you are in the club none of us want to be the members of! But you will be fine, I feel like the luckiest person alive—but it’s still hard. Talking and laughing help!! And when they are working on your boobs there is a lot of laughing! A lot of it is unprintable here! Will be right with you all the way, we are in the sistahood, & it WILL BE OK.
—Brenda Moskovic, April 5, 2015
I’m glad you didn’t see the needle before the procedure. 🙂
—Susie Westervelt, April 5, 2015
Thanks for sharing your story here. Know that you have lots of support! Glad you are on the way to kicking this bad boy in the ass! Hugs!
— Kris Baker, April 5, 2015
Deb – sending you prayers and thoughts. Take good care of yourself during treatment – be kind and patient with yourself. My dad had the same condition and was totally cured!
— Cindi Perrine, April 5, 2015
So sorry to hear what you are and have been going through! Love your attitude and know that will lead to a speedy recovery. All the best (prayers, love, hugs….) from CT. Wish we were closer so we could help with
driving and Mere-care. if the girl needs to get away from it all, send her our way!
— Kathi Moran, April 6, 2015
You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Glad you have the bone marrow biopsy over and done that is always a tough test. CaringBridge is an awesome way to keep connected and get support from family and
friends. You know you have been a source of inspiration and strength for me and I can’t thank you enough.
You’ve got this!
— Michele Barbera, April 6, 2015
Deb, attitude is altitude, and you are high up there!! Keep it up, Little Fomicles.
— margo barbakow, April 6, 2015
Debbie, with your positive attitude and pure determination, I believe you will beat this cancer with great
aplomb. You are most certainly in my prayers as are Meredith, Adam and your mother, father and brother!
Don’t lose your terrific sense of humor — it will help pull you through! 😉
— kay matton, April 6, 2015