The third time, as it turns out, is definitely not the charm.
In 1992 a chest x-ray showed something my doctors thought was lung cancer. A stay in the hospital and a biopsy resulted in negative results (that means "not cancer") and after picking myself up off the ceiling I moved on. Then in 2007 came the scare about nodules under my chin. Suspected lymphoma. Hospital stay. Biopsies. Negative results.
This time I wasn't so lucky. When those same nodules began to move down and grow, I had a strange sense of deja vu. But this time the biopsy--under anesthesia, like the one in 1992--didn't return the results we wanted.
I was diagnosed with a form of Hodgkin lymphoma just after the new year began, but I'd assumed this time wasn't going to be like the others. The tumors under my jaw were too large and grew too fast. So a series of scans and tests were performed. The doctors tell me there isn't anything else sinister hiding in my body.
The prognosis is very good, they say. In fact, the oncologist tells me he's certain my treatments will take care of the cancer "forever." You can't do much better than that.
But the next few months will not be wonderful. I'll be going in for chemotherapy treatments every three weeks, starting this Wednesday. I don't know much about how that feels, but I don't anticipate it'll be great. I will lose my hair. I realize it's a small price to pay for saving my life, but that's going to bother me. Vanity? Maybe. I've always been the one with the curly hair. For a few months, I'll be something else.
I'm not asking for a response from DEAD GUY readers, seriously. This is not a pity post. I'm writing this to explain why, on the occasional Monday, there might not be a fresh post for you to read for a while. I anticipate that most weeks will allow me to write something (next week's is already written), but it's all pretty much a mystery to me right now so I can't make any promises.
One thing I will ask: Please don't tell me you'll be praying for me. I'm an atheist and while I realize your sentiment would be pure and warm, the gesture would be one that would make you feel better and would invalidate my belief system. It would be as if I'd found out you had some great difficulty in your life and responded by sending you an email saying there is no supreme being in the hope that would make you feel better. I'm not saying you shouldn't pray; I'm asking you to follow your own heart and do as you will, but please don't tell me about it.
Other than that, thanks for paying attention. This is something I'd hoped I would be able to avoid in this life, but it was not to be. That's okay. I'll get through it and make it to the other side when I'll be healthy again. Right now I feel just fine, thanks. Some days I'll continue to do so. On other occasions I guess I won't. But by the time June 1 rolls around, I'm expecting to feel like myself again and have no cancer in my body.
The hair will come back later, but it'll come back. And it better be curly.
Pitchers and catchers will report in 8 days. You can't possibly imagine how I'm looking forward to it.