So here's the deal: Joe has follicular lymphoma, stage 3. The tumor, which is what we are now calling it, measures 12 x 6 centimeters. It's non-Hodgkins lymphoma but because it is Stage 3 (which identifies it as fast-growing, rather than slow) it will respond to treatment like Hodgkins, which is a really good thing. Because it is an aggressive tumor, it'll take up the chemo really well -- in the doctor's words, it will "melt away from chemo."
Joe has an appointment on Friday with oncology, where we will get more answers. I'll be along to scribe and scribble, adding notes to our "Living with Lymphoma" notebook which we started last week. Though he didn't want to promise, Joe's doctor seemed to think that chemo would take care of this nasty sucker - possibly no radiation required. Joe will also have a PET scan (see info below lifted from mayoclinic.com) at some point soon to illuminate the extent of any and all tumors.
Crazy as it may seem, we are so relieved. In fact, we're a little giddy. Joe just referred to himself as a total lymphomaniac. We will sleep better tonight than we have in three weeks, since we started down this path.
BIG LOVE to all our friends and family for the support that is getting us through this. We really do feel so very lucky and grateful to be held in so many hearts and minds. XXXXX
* For a PET scan, a small amount of a radioactive tracer is injected into your body. This tracer is then absorbed by your tissues. Tumors are typically more metabolically active than other tissues, so they absorb more of the tracer. A PET scan also may be repeated after the first or second course of chemotherapy to see if the treatment is working. Tumors that respond to chemotherapy don't absorb the tracer.