Finally… a Diagnosis!

I think this will be the final installment of my diagnosis process, and then I will start writing about the considerations and choices that follow it.

As I mentioned in my last post, the nocebo effect is at work again. Told that I likely have lung cancer, I dive into the Google-sphere and restart the horrible process of self-diagnosis. This, all in spite of the fact that all of my intuition was telling me that the tumor I had was not in my lung, rather that it was pushing into the lung from outside. If you have to pick a cancer to deal with, lung cancer is certainly not it. While a tremendous amount of advances have been made in the past decade, it has a low-survival rate. And my whopping 8.5cm grapefruit would have landed me straight into Stage IIIa – which gives one a 33% of living 5 years after diagnosis. See why I said not to Google this stuff!?

The next Tuesday I am back in the hospital, same day, same time, same nurses, same doctor. I experience a lot of déjà vu happening this day as I go through the procedure (much easier to sign the form saying I may get a pneumothorax or die!). The doc ensured me that he had a better idea of where to biopsy my tumor this time and that he would take more samples as a precaution. I was also given a little extra sedative and pain killer to avoid the OUCH that came last time. Everything goes smoothly, and before I know it, I am back at my house, sitting in the yard enjoying some winter sun. This day was remarkably different than the last Tuesday, as I felt no-post-procedure pain, more energy than normal and in general, the fog that had been clouding my mind and energy for the last week was lifted.

72 looooooooooong hours later, I am at the hospital with my sister to meet the oncologist to get the result. She comes in and quickly cuts to the chase:

You have a B-Cell Lymphoma -  specifically something called Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma (PMBCL), a rare non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that tends to effect people between 20 and 40. It’s very treatable and has a good cure rate, and has a much better prognosis than Lung or Thymic cancer.

I breath a big breath out…. in ALL that googling I had done over the past 3 weeks, not once did I even consider lymphoma, despite it being one of the options. What a lesson in not getting ahead of oneself! In retrospect after learning more about this kind of cancer and its manifestations, it is a perfect fit with what I’ve been experiencing, feeling and noticing.

So I am suddenly in a state of not-knowing, trusting the doc that I do have a good prognosis feeling like I just dodged a bullet. Or maybe I just dodged ballistic missile! She explains that I will need a bone marrow biopsy to finish my staging and that the treatment will be chemo and radiation (both wrong suggestions, based on outdated information). She says from this point I need to see a hematologist/oncologist, as she is basically a lung cancer oncologist. I’m told that she has already spoken to this doctor in their system, who practices out of a small clinic in Golden, CO.  She politely takes the rest of my questions, wishes me luck and then I sit for a few minutes in the room, processing everything with my sister. The unknown is suddenly known, I have a diagnosis, a label, a treatment target.

Time to finally go home and Google this PMBCL!

This is January 31st. 24 days after my initial chest x-ray.


2 thoughts on “Finally… a Diagnosis!

  1. Take what you can and do your best to bend it to your will. Bend the spoon. Be the spoon. Ultimately there is no spoon. Anyways too much matrix references! Putting some lightness into your life if it works and support to you brother from across the world. Blessing and energy to you 🌟

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