Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Beth and Ken's Not-So-Excellent Adventure

It's a cruel, cruel summer

~~ Bananarama

Go to Florida, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

It usually is, but not this time. 

To make a long story short, Ken was feeling a little crummy for a while; he had a swollen lymph node in his neck and got it biopsied, and the report was "benign, nothing to worry about." He was going to have a follow-up appointment after we got back from our Florida vacation. 

Ken's condition worsened during our week in Florida, enough so that we decided to leave a day early. He had an appointment with his doctor on the Monday after we got back. We didn't even make it to the car. 

When he collapsed on our way out, I called 911 and they got him to the small community hospital in New Smyrna Beach. He was in pretty bad shape but they stabilized him enough to get him to a major hospital that could address his situation better. We went to Shands Hospital at University of Florida Health System in Gainesville. 

He was eventually diagnosed with a very rare form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: leukemic double-hit follicular lymphoma. They had never seen a case of it at U of F, a major regional hospital; the oncologist in South Bend who will be seeing him has never treated a case of it; there have been only about 20 documented cases of this. It's rare enough that the medical team here at U of F is planning on writing a paper about his case. 

A month later after our drive down to Florida and after three weeks in the hospital and a round of chemotherapy, we are heading home. There are five more cycles of chemo ahead of him but I have no doubt whatsoever that he (and we) will make it through this. I've had to remember my Hematology training from three decades ago but I've never been so grateful for my training. It helps immensely to understand what the doctors are saying and to know what is dangerous and what isn't. Well, it's all dangerous, but some things are dangerouser than others. 

The family members and friends who have helped us out through this have been wonderful. We chose not to make it public immediately because we had enough going on as we dealt with all of this and weren't prepared to answer a lot of questions. But we will appreciate every bit of support as we go forward and work on getting Ken into remission and back to full health! 

We are strong, we are positive, and we will beat this!