Not The Stage I Was Looking For

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It’s difficult to pick out the right outfit to wear to your husband’s first appointment with his oncologist. I went with my new Boden linen skirt, flip-flops, a light-weight knit tunic, and a pedicure I managed to fuck up within hours of walking out of the nail salon. It came together nicely.

After making a quick stop at Target for ultra-soft toothbrushes, Biotene toothpaste, Glide flossers, and some kind of gum that keeps your mouth clean (all supplies for Hubs’ impending chemo), I jumped into my sweet ride minivan and made my way to the hospital to meet Hubs and my SIL (a lymphoma survivor, as is their father—but, it’s not hereditary…my ass).

I arrived without getting lost, kudos to me, parked next to a handicapped space, because I feel a kinship, albeit a mental one, and made my way to the building. I asked the blue-haired woman in the vomit-pink coat where oncology was located, and made my way to the Muppet-show-sized elevator, up to the 2nd floor, and down the hall to section “2C”, noting the irony. C was not for cookie in this case.

My SIL and Hubs were already there, cracking jokes, as we do in times of stress. When his name was called, we followed Hubs to be weighed (offered to get on the scale with him), have his blood pressure taken, and then into the World’s Smallest Exam Room, where his sister and I took the two chairs and made Hubs sit on the exam table. Seemed fair.

My SIL fired up her laptop. I got out my notepad. Dr. W entered the room. The rest is this mash-up of information chunks; pieces of stuff we knew like the type of lymphomaDiffuse B-Cell Large Cell Lymphoma (Non-Hodgkin); pieces of information we didn’t know – Stage 3 or Stage 4 due to potential lung involvement and upper abdominal involvement.

Hubs will still have the MUGA scan Thursday to make sure his heart can withstand the selected chemo regimen (R-CHOP), but it will now be preceded by a bone marrow biopsy to check for cancer in his bone marrow.

Chemotherapy will start Friday, as the course will be the same whether the marrow is involved or not. However, the Rituxan will be given Monday in this first round to watch for allergic reaction, and also to allow for time for the bone marrow results to come in—a long-acting form of Neupogen, called Neulasta, will be given with chemo if the bone marrow is involved, in order to keep his white blood cell counts up.

How was your Monday?