Diagnosis + 6 Days

Dear all:

Did you ever wonder what you would choose if offered cancer or a trip to Cleveland. Read on and find out one person's choice!

This is the sixth day since I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of cancer. I have the nodular sclerosing type, which I understand means that the tumors are hard nodules, and that the medical bills cause an adverse reaction in certain patients. I have several (7 or 8) hard tumors in my neck and shoulder area. The largest of these is the size of a marble. There are probably a lot more that I cannot see, but after my CT scans this week they will all be found.

It was these small lumps near my collarbone that originally convinced me to see a doctor. A single lump appeared about six months ago. Since it was small and painless I did not go to a doctor. Oops. When many more appeared, I made an apppointment. My family doctor was not sure what they were and sent me to a infectious disease specialist since I have travelled extensively in Africa, Latin America, Russia, etc. and he thought it might be parasites or other nasties. The infectious disease specialist could come to no conclusions in her office and scheduled me for a biopsy to remove one of the lumps.

This was done on Friday, March 7 (8th?) in a doctor's office. He simply novacained around the most prominent lump and swish swish with his knife took it out. It was about the size of a fingernail and looked a bit like cauliflower, but smoother. The surgeon wasn't too good-looking either.

On Tuesday of last week I was at a business meeting in New Hampshire (in which we won a $20 million account) and after the meeting I called Mary. She said that I had cancer and that I should come home. I cancelled the trip I was supposed to take that afternoon to Cleveland. Tough choice, go to Cleveland or get cancer. What would you do?

I have since seen an oncologist (a person who studies uncles) and I will have CT scans this week of my whole body to "stage" the disease, figure out how far it has spread. It is staged on a scale of I-IV. I have at least II, perhaps III. There are also symptomatic classifications, such as A and B. I have IIB, perhaps IIIB. If I get to IV without going over I win the Porche. It's a little like golf, lower scores are better.

There is a lot of information on the WWW on Hodgkins. One place is Mike's Lymphoma page at HTTP://users.aol.com/kittyba/lymphoma.html

Or search under the word "lymphoma" and you'll get over 100 hits.

So that's the scoop for today.

Next week: All The World's A Stage.

Steve Saltman

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