Final Diagnosis, Bone Marrow Biopsy and PET Results

Well, I had the dreaded bone marrow aspiration and biopsy today.  It did hurt, but it certainly wasn’t unbearable pain, and it’s nice to have it over with.  The doctor should have some of the results next week, but he doesn’t expect to find any cancer in the bone marrow, since none showed up in the PET scan that I got last week.

Before the biopsy, the doctor told me that the results of the lymph node biopsy had finally come in, and it is indeed Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  He also had the results of the PET scan, which show that the lymphoma is widespread throughout my abdomen and chest, but that it is confined to the lymph nodes.  Unless the bone marrow biopsy shows that it has spread to the bone marrow (which is unlikely), that means I have stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Stage 3 sounds kind of scary, and it is for some kinds of cancer, but in this case it just means I have lymphoma both above and below my diaphragm, which I already knew from the CAT scan.  Treatment is the same for stage 2, 3, and 4, anyway, and cure rate with the standard chemotherapy is about 90%.  The 10% who are not cured can then take the next step, which is a bone marrow transplant.  Hopefully that won’t be me – I’m done with doctors fiddling with my bone marrow.

I start chemotherapy next Tuesday.  The doctor told me all the unpleasant side effects I might experience, but you can’t really know which ones will happen until you start, so I’m not worrying about them.  And he said that after two or even only one treatment the symptoms caused by the lymphoma (i.e. back pain, fevers, etc.) will start to go away, which will be very nice.  So all in all, I’m looking forward to starting chemo.  Although maybe in a weeks’ time I’ll be looking back on this and shaking my head at how naive I was…

3 Responses to “Final Diagnosis, Bone Marrow Biopsy and PET Results”

  1. Alaina Mabaso Says:

    Hi Coleman,

    Your courage is apparent. Be sure to lean on us if and when things get more difficult. Your diagnosis is tough enough, but it also must be difficult to have your career put on hold for the treatment. Please remember that your friends are here for you whether or not you’re brave and graceful about this, day to day. Much love and thanks for keeping us updated!

  2. Alison Says:

    I really hope all the back pains and fevers will go away, but it kinda seems they’ll be replaced with other unpleasantness. I can’t wait till you’re all cured. It will be sad to have you go away to Canada, but it will be great to hear about you serving the Lord there.

  3. Cameron Says:

    Hey, Coleman. Thanks for doing the blog. When someone you care about has a serious disease, you always want to know how they are doing, but may not want to ask for fear that they don’t want to talk about it, or perhaps they don’t have anything new and are tired of being asked. On the other hand, if everyone hesitates to ask, the person may feel isolated and alone.

    Kathleen and I will be checking the blog frequently. Keep up the positive attitude.



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