Here's an update on the nightmare I've been going through for the past two months.
I went to see a thyroid specialist at the end of July. He found swollen lymph nodes around my neck. They did a biopsy that was inconclusive for the cancer I used to have, which was Non-Hodgkin’s T-cell Lymphoma. This oncologist wanted me to get a second opinion and sent me to an oncologist where I battled cancer the first time.
So, I saw the oncologist today, October 7, 2020. The “second opinion” at the hospital I used to go to when I had cancer/Non-Hodgkin’s T-cell Lymphoma. This was the doctor’s response to all my blood work and questions in summary:
He listed ALL the symptoms of Lymphoma, asking me if I have any of these symptoms. I have NONE of them. But that means nothing. Nearly ALL my blood work was NORMAL with literally “NO indication of cancer in the blood.” His words. The only blood work that wasn’t normal was the blood work that indicated I have inflammation (Immunoglobulin G). Because I have inflammation, he has concluded I have Lymphoma. He also said the biopsy indicated I have Lymphoma because it detected T-cells in the tissue (forget the fact that T-cells ALSO indicate I could have a bacterial infection). But any kind of infection was not an option. Instead, I have Lymphoma. Period. No ifs ands or buts. So, either I’m going to be the longest living patient with Lymphoma or, IMO, I have an infection.
Yesterday, I got results back on my teeth. I have two to three teeth that are abscessed, and two that are full of cavities close to the roots. The dentist said I don’t have enough saliva in my mouth (all thanks to my previous cancer treatments that damaged my salivary glands), so my teeth are severely infected at the roots. They will ALL need to come out. So, arrangements are being made to have six of my teeth extracted (FUN), all on the bottom jaw line. This type of bacterial infection can certainly cause “inflammation” in my body and swollen lymph nodes around my neck (which I have). There’s no indication of swollen lymph nodes anywhere else in or on my body.
We shared this news with the oncologist, but it means nothing, I still have cancer. He said, either Lymphoma can cause infections, or infections can cause Lymphoma. But he still strongly encouraged me to get my teeth taken care of before treatment. I have not chosen to do his treatment at this moment in time, and most likely I never will choose to do his treatment.
The treatment he has to offer is a drug called Brentuximab. This drug acts very similarly to B17 (what originally wiped out in total eight of my tumors). Brentuximab is what they call a “smart drug” because it goes directly to the cancer cell and then releases the chemo in that cancer cell. I find it interesting because B17 goes right into the cancer cell, which then creates a chemical reaction that then produces cyanide, which is then released into the cancer cell; therefore, killing the cancer cell.
The oncologist really would like for me to get a PET scan, so he can see where/if any other tumors might be. I told him I’m not comfortable with that because of damage to my kidneys. He repeatedly said the PET scan does not harm the kidneys because it doesn’t use contrast like the MRI. However, I said, “But it uses radioactive material. How can that be good for the kidneys?” I then asked if he’d be willing to write down that the PET scan will not damage my kidneys and sign his name to it? He suggested I have the radiologist do that. I said, “But you’re the one who is saying it won’t damage my kidneys, so it makes more sense that you would sign something that says that.” I said, “I’m the one who has to live with these kidneys, not you.” I said all this with a smile. He said he would not sign something that says that. (E-hem!!! Why not?!! If it doesn’t cause any damage?!) Anyway, he said the last blood work I’d gotten from them in 2012 did not indicate kidney damage. I said, but three months after that blood work, I got test results showing early signs of damage. No acknowledgment.
Final conclusion, according to this doctor (who was friendly and not rude, but narrow-minded) I have Lymphoma.
This is called “protocol.” They MUST follow protocol even to the detriment of the patient to prevent getting sued (this I learned from my family physician). Had I followed the oncologist’s protocol the first time around (by taking more chemo), I would have died eight years ago.
In the end, GOD is my Physician. He has my days numbered. And (whether you believe this is possible or not, because He’s done this with me before) He let me know, “Everything’s gonna be okay.” He is the One holding me together. My husband’s words.
Please pray that all will go smoothly with my teeth! AAaaack!!!
On November 1, 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkins T-cell Lymphoma when my oncologist found a tumor in my head. He gave me radiation for this tumor, which continued to light up on all the PET scans for the rest of my treatments, but the growth had stopped. Within a year-and-a-half I was given eight rounds of chemo (including 22-hour bags and other numerous amounts of smaller injections of chemo that are innumerable—nearly bleeding to death twice), 35 treatments of radiation, a stem-cell transplant (which included "enough chemo to kill a healthy person"—my oncologist liked to say—along with full-body radiation), and numerous amounts of drugs and one magnesium vitamin.