The graduate moves on

We met with Dr. Beaven at Duke yesterday to review the results of the reassessment testing I completed last week.  After 28 weeks of chemotherapy, as a participant in a clinical trial for T-cell Lymphoma, I have completed my course of treatment.  I have graduated from the program and am ready to move on.  There was no formal graduation ceremony, and I will not receive a diploma to hang on the wall, but my body has been cleansed of that horrible disease, and my prognosis is significantly better than it was just 6 months ago.  God is so good.

Having successfully completed my initial course of study, I am now ready to move on to graduate school.  Dr. Beaven and Dr. Horwitz reviewed my test results and agree that I am ready to begin preparing for my bone marrow transplant.  But before we can start that process, a couple of other interim steps are required.  I still have that one persistent lymph node in my abdomen that has not been responsive to my chemo treatments.  While the doctors do not feel that the presence of this node represents a problem, they would like to see if they can get some additional information about it.  So on Friday of next week I am scheduled for a CT-guided biopsy of that lymph node.  Hopefully, that will provide a definitive diagnosis, which will allow the doctors to better understand the nature of the cells in that node.  The expectation is that the cells are also Lymphoma.  Most likely, the biopsy will be followed by 2 or 3 weeks of radiation treatments, to start to knock down that stubborn area.

Following the biopsy/radiation period, I will then begin the transplant process.  Back on August 24, 2012, I wrote a more lengthy post containing information about the why's and wherefore's of bone marrow transplants.  You may wish to go back in the Blog Archives, on the right of the screen, to read that post.  Certainly I will be posting more about it in the coming weeks, but we have a few things to complete before that transplant comes into focus.

Overall, we are thrilled with the progress that has taken place since my diagnosis on June 6, 2012.  The rare and aggressive cancer that was discovered almost by accident (a.k.a. God's divine intervention) has been essentially wiped out.  I can think of many pursuits, other than a bone marrow transplant, that I would prefer to undertake in the months ahead.  But for someone who wasn't sure he would even be alive to see the year 2013, having graduated from  Clinical Trial University, and now pursuing an advanced degree in Total Disease Eradication is pretty darn exciting.  And my goal is to graduate summa cum laude (with highest honor).

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