Today was a regularly scheduled six-month follow-up visit with Dr. Hema. That, in itself, is significant. At one point in my progress, I was seeing him every day! Once the rituxan and chemo were administered, I saw him every three months. Now I am scheduled for every six months.
The numbers and consequently Dr. Hema's comments were just wonderful. The only number that was not an improvement was M-spike which has risen to 0.27. If I am understanding Dr. Hema correctly, an increase from the last number of 0.19 is insignificant. Both numbers are quite small; however, they are not zero which would signal complete remission. We don't expect complete remission with lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. We expect long periods of nearly complete remission followed by brief periods of re-treatment. According to Dr. Hema, there is no way to know if re-treatment will be needed in six months, six years or some other period. He has previously said to me that most patients eventually die of some other cause, not lymphoma.
My numbers were so unremarkable that we mostly discussed restaurants, travel and Nurse Kim's new baby girl! We scheduled my next visit in six more months.
My adorable wife and I celebrated with a big lunch and I enjoyed a big glass of Pinot Noir.
When I was first diagnosed and undergoing treatment, my attitude was that I have a possibly life-threatening lymphoma and I should bite my lip, write an intelligent estate plan and take what comes like a man. Now that I have been treated and it has gone so well, my attitude is that, like the flu, I used to have lymphoma and it has been treated and I am fine. If it comes back, I will get another treatment and I will be fine.
I expect to be around for a normal life expectancy for a non-smoking male who eats big lunches and drinks a bit of Pinot Noir!