Getting all my ducks in a row

3/20/15 – I met with Dr. Goy today. He assured me that there are many options available to me but he first wanted to perform a full work up on me and get a better picture as to where I stand. It started with taking a full blood screening. Next, there is a PET scan scheduled for Wednesday, March 25th. Once that is done a biopsy will be scheduled within a week later. At that point Dr. Goy should have everything he needs to recommend a course of treatment (including just how aggressive my cancer is). Between Dr.  Goy and my transplant doctors Dr. Rowley and Dr. Donato, they all seem to think another ALLO transplant is something to strongly consider after we find a way the re-achieve remission. To be honest this option does not make me leap for joy. If you think about the amount of time I invested into the stem cell transplant (SCT) compared to how long I was mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) free, the math does not WOW you. My SCT was 19 months ago. I was able to resume working about only 11 months ago. It hard to see that as a success. I would have expected a few years of remission (at a minimum). When I passed that thought by Dr. Goy he said that the short remissions was due to the lack of me having graft versus host disease (GVHD). I do know that Doctors Rowley and Donato were concerned that I have never showed any evidence of GVHD but I guess I never realized it would lead to a short remission. I always viewed the fact that I did not get GVHD as a good thing. I guess a little bit of GVHD is a good thing but too much of it could be pretty bad. Oh well, I guess it is something I will be more concerned with for my next SCT.
There is no doubt that I am disappointed with my latest relapse... but I do not have the luxury to dwell on it. I have an awesome year ahead of me. My Goddaughter is getting married in May and my daughter is getting married in July. There is nothing that can stop me from being present at these wonderful events with bells on… and to be present in my family’s lives for a long time after that.
True, MCL is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life… my long and productive life… but I will not let it define me… nor will it turn me into a victim who runs and hides from it… nor will it keep me away from the things I consider most important. I am stronger than my cancer… and I will beat it… again.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
More to come…

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