Pathology reveals low-grade B-cell lymphoma compatible with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. This is concordant.
So there you go. I have lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
I found out when I was poking around the patient portal of my healthcare group. I had gotten an email with my validation code for the site, but had not gotten the email with the secure link for registration. I sent an email to site support about it and a very nice lady called me to fix the problem. Once fixed, I logged in to make sure I could. There, on my dashboard, was a list of documents all relating to the biopsy. One of them, the "Ultrasound Guidance Needle Biopsy" report, held the news.
It took a minute to sink in. I think I stopped breathing. Then I immediately opened another tab in Firefox and started googling.
Apparently, if you have to get cancer, this one is the one to get.
- It's a Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is better than Hodgkin lymphoma.
- It's a B-cell lymphoma, which is better than a T-cell lymphoma. (B- and T-cells are types of lymphocytes, which fight infections.)
- It's a low-grade lymphoma, which is better than a high-grade lymphoma.
- It's indolent, which is better than aggressive. (I have this mental image of an indolent B-cell lolling about in a hammock with a gin and tonic.)
I printed off the report and, when I got home, showed it to Joe. There was a lot of hugging. I cried. I mean, even though it's the best cancer to have, it's still fucking CANCER.
I still hadn't heard from the doctor, so I called him today. I confessed to the nurse that I had seen the report, but I still wanted to talk to the doc to see about the next steps. He called me back pretty quickly and teased me about already seeing the results. Honestly, that made me feel better! Then he said, "It's really not serious. Sometimes it's not treated at all, but you do have to see a medical oncologist."
He gave me the names of two oncologists in the group. I picked the one he mentioned first and called to make an appointment. The intake nurse took all of my info and made the appointment, and then said, "You'll love Dr. S. She's great and all her patients just love her!" That's reassuring and nice to know, although I suspect that the nurse would not have said, "Look out; she's a real bitch and you'll hate her."
By the way, the surgeon was right about the "sometimes it's not treated" thing. It's not treated when the lymphoma is still in the very early stages. Instead, the doctors subject you to "Watchful Waiting", where they keep tabs on your lymphoma until it's progressed far enough that treatment will be effective. Personally, I think I'll likely become a nervous wreck if I have to wait watchfully, but maybe not.
Anyway, there you have it. Stay tuned.