I start chemo-immuno-therapy for my Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL) on January 30 and 31.
If we're friends on Facebook, you may know this already.
I didn't make this decision lightly, like "Oh boy! This might be fun to try!" No, I read a lot. I thought a lot. I asked a lot of other people what they thought about it. And it basically comes down to Yes, I Should Do This.
My most recent labs were still good. A Flow Cytometry test revealed a 13% increase in ... something. Lymphocytes, I think. Another test - fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) - will reveal if there's any chromosomal abnormality and will evidently predict if treatment will give me a good outcome. The lab forgot to do the FISH test when I was there, so I'll find out more about that when I go in next time.
Anyway, I think what really made me pull the trigger on treatment was that I'd rather get it now, while my labs are good and my scans are stable, rather than waiting until things take a turn. Hit it early, hit it hard, and get it done. Remission is pretty much guaranteed, and could last years if not the rest of my life. Those are pretty good odds, I'd say.
The first thing I get to do is go to a chemotherapy education session. I suspect I'll learn the protocol and exactly how it all works. I did get a peek at the infusion room - what a depressing sight that was - so I know what to expect of that.
My oncologist filled in on the drugs I'll be getting. The first day I'll get both Bendamustine and Rituxan. That will take four to six hours, so I'll bring something entertaining. Hmm. I must remember to scope out outlets and find out if there's a WiFi password I can use. The second day I'll get only Bendamustine. That will take only an hour, maybe 45 minutes if I'm lucky. I repeat this two-day cycle every four weeks for six months. That's a lot of Angry Birds 2 and Candy Crush!
I will make a lot of jokes to deal with this. That's what I do when I feel scared and empty. I make jokes. And it helps.
And I will pray to God-Goddess-Universal Mind-Primal Will to Good-Kingdom of Spirit-Everlasting Light. I will visualize lightning destroying the invading cells. I'll focus on only good things resulting from treatment. I'll drop love bombs throughout my body. I'll dream of floods of the pure white light curing my cancer. I will recite affirmations and meditate. I'll let go and let God. I'll rest in the arms of Allah. I'll rely on my Guardian Angels to protect me. I'll let Jesus take the wheel. I'll do all of it, dammit.
I'll also cry, I expect, and maybe vomit. And I'll feel like hell on toast for a time, no doubt.
But then I will feel better, and it will be over, and I will still be here.