Current status.

It has been 2 weeks since I had the PET scan and the bone marrow biopsy.  As reported earlier, the test results were most encouraging and uplifting.  Since the time we received those results, we have been exchanging a few emails with one of the main nurses at Dr. Beaven's office, trying to get a better handle on what the phrase "significant resolution" really means.  Based on what we have heard, I believe it would be safe to characterize my current condition as follows.  The bone marrow, which initially indicated a 30% cancer involvement, is now clear and cancer free.  No evidence of cancer in the marrow was found.  As for the PET scan, which can detect cancer throughout the body, her phrase was "From the capability of the scan, it appears the cancer is not detectable.  It is the microscopic piece that is not evaluable."  In my terms that means there is no detectable evidence of cancer in either the marrow or the lymphatic system throughout the body.  The lone exception to all of this is one large lymph node in my abdomen, that thus far has seemingly resisted the effects of treatment and has remained somewhat stable in size.

So in a period of just 14 weeks, I have gone from Stage 4 lymphoma (4 being the highest or worst stage) to being essentially cancer free, with the one exception.  That is pretty impressive and those chemotherapy treatments, unpleasant as they may be, are really working well.  Praise the Lord!!!  I have gone from a prognosis that was alarming and decidedly negative, to a situation where things are looking quite bright and positive.  All in all it has been a pretty darn good 14 weeks.

But I 'm not completely out of the woods yet.  That remaining node has to start responding, and I am confident that it is only a matter of time before it also disappears.  Then there is the issue of "microscopic pieces".  Certain cancers, mine included, can be almost completely eliminated through treatment, but still have a few cells remain to come back later and start the cancer growing all over again.  You can be 99.99999% cured, but that last .00001% can come back to haunt you.  And that small of an amount is totally undetectable with current testing technology.  It is for that reason that I will undergo a bone marrow transplant, probably starting sometime in January.  The transplant, which is like going after the last fly in the house with a guided missile, will hopefully destroy the few remaining cancer cells, or at least get us up to 99.99999999999999999999%.  It is not a procedure I am particularly looking forward to but it is necessary to improving my longer term prognosis.

I was reading something this week, which indicated that the initial response to a cancer diagnosis is often shock and disbelief, followed by a period of distress.......  Been there, done that.  We have come so far in such a short period.  Many thanks to all of those who have been so supportive in so many ways.  Your many expressions of love and caring have meant so much, and we especially appreciate the many prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf.  The Lord is good, and His presence in this situation has been so evident and so obvious.  We just ask that you continue to keep us on your prayer lists.  When measured in days or weeks, most of our journey still lies ahead.  But we will continue on, with confidence and joy, knowing that our every step is being watched by our Heavenly Father.

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