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Thank You Socorro….

August 8, 2018

Thank you.
Thank you to all the people of Socorro who stood beside us in our moment of need.
Thank you to all my friends and relatives in the Pacific Northwest.
Thank you Dr. Mudd for your vigilance and quick response.
Thank you Dr. Avetia and the staff at New Mexico Cancer Center for their very quick response and efforts.
Thank you to both the New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation (https://nmcancercenter.org/foundation/) and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (http://www.lls.org/), They were very helpful with information as well as financial assistance. They are both non profits, and are deserving of financial support. As the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society representative explained to my wife: “We give money out to cancer patients until it’s gone….”, and indeed they do. Cancer treatment is extremely expensive, even with insurance.

Getting diagnosed with cancer, in this case, mantle cell lymphoma, kind of changes one’s perspective on things. I can’t say I was frightened; maybe a bit apprehensive, it being a bit more serious than having one’s teeth cleaned. I did my research and realized that my diagnoses was serious, and not to be trifled with. That was evident by how fast the doctor fast tracked me into chemo to be followed be a radiation regimen. I got a lot of free advice: “NEVER DO CHEMO,” “Try marijuana,” “My friend knows this really good alternative guy who does…..,” The statistics said chemo. The science said chemo. After praying to God about it, it was chemo. Not all cancers require chemo or radiation. Not all cancers are life threatening. Mine required chemo and was life threatening.

Chemo is not just one drug. In my case, it was a four drug cocktail, two of which were designed to keep the other two from killing me, I think. One drug was there to help restore the immune system that the final drug was intent on destroying along with the cancerous white blood cells. Yes, there are side effects, and it was not fun. The main drugs used in chemo were developed from the chemical weapon mustard gas, and for 48 hours after chemo you are too toxic to use the same bathroom as other household members. The chemo is tailored to best attack the specific cancer being addressed, so that the person with breast cancer will get a different, though similar, mix of drugs than I was given.

Being around all my fellow cancer patients, I was struck by how good most of there attitudes were. I knew that not all of my fellow patients were going to make it, but they were there fighting with grace, and mostly, a positive attitude.

As for radiation, I asked the tech what frequency we were dealing with. No one had ever asked him, so it took him a day to find out. Low end of the X-ray range. He didn’t give it to me in hertz. There’s an obvious pun there, but I won’t do it, which brings me to my last point that I had to learn: Do not make your phlebotomist laugh, especially if blood is being drawn. Just not a wise thing to do.

God is good. I believe I am healed. The doctors never say “healed” for this lymphoma, rather, “in remission,” therefore I will go in 3 times a year for the PET and CT scans for the forseeable future. I will say it, even if the doctors won’t: By the grace of God, healed!

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