Today I start chemotherapy. I realize for those who follow this blog that statement might come as a shock, it certainly does me. A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was in good health following seizures and illness in the fall. Perhaps the post was tempting fate.
Last week I was admitted to the hospital with a very low platelet count and in the process of finding out why the doctors discovered enlarged lymph nodes. The biopsy confirmed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, also known simply as Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the blood. In essence my immune system was attacking my blood.
I would say this isn’t as bad as it sounds, but it actually is precisely as bad as it sounds. I can’t leave the hospital until my platelet count grows, and that will only happen by attacking the cancer, and my immune system at the same time. The good news is that a bone marrow biopsy came back clean. The other good thing is that unlike other cancers you may have heard of, enlarged lymph nodes are where this cancer starts, so it doesn’t indicate spread.
I have few answers for you (and since most readers of this blog are librarians I’m sure you’re all on PubMed now anyway). The good news is that at my age (finally something to make we feel young) there are excellent treatments and projected outcomes.
The big effect of my illness is that with a compromised immune system, and courses of chemo I will once again need to cut out travel. I don’t know how the treatments will affect me, but as always I have webcams and video conferencing to continue to spread the message of how librarians are radical positive change agents, and how communities are our collections.
I will certainly take prayers and good wishes, but this is no time for sympathy. I feel good. I have an amazing family, colleagues, and network of friends. I will beat this.