Beyond the Bullet Points: Irony and Lymphoma

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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.

86 responses on “Beyond the Bullet Points: Irony and Lymphoma

  1. Paul Brenner

    Dave, Thinking of you and all your strength, energy, laughter and optimism that will carry the day. Sending healing thoughts and wishes. Best wishes,

  2. Milly Stephenson

    Sending lots of good wishes your way. After one week in your classroom last summer, your inspiration lingers. I often ask myself, “what would Lankes do?” Here’s hoping you are soon well enough to spread the word again in person and not just via webcam.

  3. Barbara Settel

    Dave,
    I was admiring how good you looked at the LIS FPAG a few weeks ago. There are great cure rates for Hodgkins and your positive attitude will help keep you strong. Sending lots of healing thoughts your way.

  4. May Wohlafka

    Dear Professor Lankes:

    Good luck with your chemotherapy. Your sense of humor will go a long way in helping you heal!

    May Wohlafka, Summer 2012 student

  5. Michelle Brown (@meeshkalynn)

    “It is the power of thought that gives man power over nature”
    My thoughts are with you and your family, wishing you a speedy recovery! Your determination and perspective on life make me confident that yes, you will beat this.

  6. Yang Wang

    Dave, you and your family are in our prayers! Our best wishes for a speedy recovery to you! As a new colleague of yours, I have had only a few interactions with you, but I can tell you that those were inspirational. I’m also glad that I discovered your blog, and your last blog post just speaks to me…so candid and right on time for me…you know what I meant. Get well soon Dave!

  7. bruce

    Dave;Marietta,her folks,and i wish you a victorious journey past all this and we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers..anything we can do..we are here for you and your family

  8. Eileen

    I hope all your positive thoughts (and ours) turn into healing power so you’re out of the hospital and back to normal soon!

  9. Marilyn Arnone

    I am sending healing thoughts to you, Dave. Like others have said, you have what it takes to beat this disease and I know in my heart that you will. We all stand by to support you in your recovery.

  10. Jessica O'Toole

    Good thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery! I’ve been doing some public speaking recently and your presentations have been a great inspiration.

  11. Houria (iSchool @ SU)

    Of course you will beat this!
    Dave, your positive attitude and humor will bring you healing energy! Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery!

  12. Dori

    Dave, You mean so much to so many. I pray that you continue to feel strong and positive throughout your treatments, and that your recovery is a speedy one. Know that your cheering section is large, and we don’t tire easily.

  13. Tim Lowan

    Dave – the greatest of good wishes and thoughts to you. Let’s get those positive radical change agents of the blood back up and running!
    Everyone else – With his initial symptoms, Dave was unable to attend our Changing Times, Inspiring Libraries Summit in November as planned, so we brought him into the room by teleconference. Completely successful, everyone was very happy with Virtual Dave, and there’s now lots of buzz here in the British Columbia library community about library transformation. Don’t hesitate to go this way if Dave can’t come to you!

  14. Darci LaRose

    Dave I love that you got them to customize your room so you can still teach. You are amazing and I guess that is why you have been selected to share your journey! Praying for you Anna Maria and the boys! Much love…

  15. Jane Treadwell

    We will miss you at ILEAD U in March–but did you know how many ILS librarians it takes to equal one David Lankes? Three. :-) Seriously, Anne, Gwen and Andrew are going to be fabulous, but we still wish you could be here. And, I have no doubt that you will beat this. It’s a good sign that you are back to doing podcasts.

  16. Sarah Chauncey

    Prayers and good wishes will continue as you take on this new challenge, Dave. You continue to be an inspiration. Strength to you and your family.

  17. Pat McKenna

    Everything you do is amazing Dave and how you are working with this particular challenge is equally exceptional. Sending you prayers and an abundance of love, light, and good wishes.

  18. AiP

    I am so sorry to hear this, Dave! What a terrible time… I hope that your recovery is 100% successful and very quick in coming.

  19. Marie Radford

    Dave, Just saw this, sry late to post. Sending all positive thoughts and best wishes for speedy recovery! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you at any time. A keynote? ;) Accept an award for you? ;) Skype in for a chat? Provide witty banter? BTW, ty for retweeting my note for recruitment for Cyber Synergy project.

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