Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rallying Cry

When I first got this CLL diagnosis two years ago, I picked out this Tom Petty song as a rallying cry; something to remind me of everything that was truly important to me on those coming days when it might not seem like the future was so bright. Right now, thanks to my clinical trial team at Sarah Cannon Research and Infinity Pharmaceuticals the future is looking pretty bright indeed but as a musician I still really wanted to do this and the song has taken on a very personal meaning. If you’ve seen my Fight Song page, you’ll understand. 😎

My good friend Chris generously supplied the guitar/drum track and we did the rest at home on some fairly inexpensive recording gear. Sheila and I are both singing and I played the bass guitar. It’s a bit country, it’s a lot Rock & Roll. No, we’re not pros by any stretch of the imagination but I was really pleased with how it came out.

Hey, I will stand my ground and I won’t back down!


The Hallmarks of Cancer is Personal

I have already shared excerpts from a few of this very good and informative series of articles on the basics of cancer cell biology by Buddhini Samarasinghe. Here is the touching story behind them. Please check them out.

And the winner is?

argueI met with the general surgeon this morning to diiscuss the prospect of removing my gall bladder (laparoscopic Cholecystectomy). It all went really really well except for one thing. For reasons I don’t yet know or understand right now, my hematologist/oncologist Dr Flinn wants me to wait on the surgery. Surpringly the surgeon was not really discomforted by my unusual blood counts and was very reassuring in general. Now the two docs just need to confer and decide whether or not I can do this soon. Either way, I’m ready.

What about Lymphoma?

CDR0000526538In the past few months, I’ve been writing a lot on here about blood cancer; specifically the leukemia I am battling. The other primary classification of blood cancers are called lymphomas. The difference between leukemias and lymphomas is subtle. I’m trying to inform along the journey so here’s some info if you are interested.

According to the American Joint Committee on Cancer’s (AJCC) most recent publication (the seventh edition of the Cancer Staging Handbook), any cancer that affects the lymphoid cells—lymphoblast, lymphocyte, follicle center cell, immunoblast, plasma cell—should first be described as a Lymphoid Neoplasm. From there, the question on the difference between leukemia and lymphoma becomes one of disease presentation.

  • If the disease only tends to affect circulating cells, it is considered a leukemia.
  • If the disease tends to produce tumor masses, it is considered a lymphoma.
  • If the disease presents both in the circulating cells and in a tumor mass, it is considered a lymphoma/leukemia.

Lymphomas are further subdivides into two main types. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s website:

What Is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. The two main types are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

In 2013, about 731,277 people are living with lymphoma or are in remission (no sign of the disease). This number includes about 172,937 people with Hodgkin lymphoma and 558,340 people with NHL.

Hodgkin lymphoma has characteristics that distinguish it from other diseases classified as lymphoma, including the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. These are large, cancerous cells found in Hodgkin lymphoma tissues, named for the scientists who first identified them. Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most curable forms of cancer.

NHL represents a diverse group of diseases distinguished by the characteristics of the cancer cells associated with each disease type. Most people with NHL have a B-cell type of NHL (about 85 percent). The others have a T-cell type or an NK-cell type of lymphoma. Some patients with fast-growing NHL can be cured. For patients with slow-growing NHL, treatment may keep the disease in check for many years.

I hope that helps. 😎 For more information, please contact the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Hold that thought…

WaitingForDoctorI saw my hematologist/oncologist Dr Flinn today and he is encouraged with the results we are seeing so far on the ipi-145 investigational drug (Me too but it’s still early in the game). My blood counts are seemingly on their way back. We discussed my recent ER visit and gall bladder issues and for reasons I don’t yet understand, he said he would probably want me to wait a while on the surgery. I know my risk for opportunistic infections is pretty high still. I am still meeting with the surgeon later this week and after that will have another talk with Dr Flinn about where we go from here.