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-   -   Stage IV Lymphoma (http://forum.yakkityyaks.com/showthread.php?t=14907)

Sphinx 06-04-2013 02:23 PM

Stage IV Lymphoma
Well, as I said in a different thread...my cousin was diagnosed with b-cell lymphoma...

There's been both good news and - obviously - from the title of this thread very bad news. She was diagnosed today with Stage IV Lymphoma. I know stage IV is the last stage, but I absolutely know nothing else about what this means? I can say that the cancer originated in her ribs and the next lesion was in her arm.

I'm very hesitant to google it, because I know what will pop up. And I am not discussing death. So, someone please enlighten me as to what this diagnosis means? Her bone marrow was clean. She starts chemotherapy Monday.

Cathy 06-04-2013 03:35 PM

Awe Zach I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. This sounds like a question for Dr Joe, and I had a friend who had stage 4 breast cancer so maybe there is hope!!!

19wingz 06-04-2013 04:45 PM

Well, I don't know if this can be sugarcoated. Basically, Stage IV means that the cancer is no longer in the lymph nodes but has left the lymph nodes and travelled. They are probably in an organ somewhere or just outside of the lymph nodes, if you will. Her marrow is clean (great!) but it could be the cancer was found in the lung, liver or spinal fluid. Did they tell her what led them to make this diagnosis?

Sphinx 06-04-2013 05:03 PM

It was found on a lesion on her arm, so it wasn't simply on her ribs alone anymore.

19wingz 06-04-2013 05:08 PM

Oh. Maybe I should have read your post closely. My bad. So ya - you see, it has spread to the skin.

Sphinx 06-04-2013 05:09 PM

I did some trolling, because I just check in on to make sure she's doing okay when we talk. I'm sure she's exhausted of talking medicine. They apparently found more lesions on her arms, in the bone, and we're making sure they weren't cancerous. It turned out that they were cancerous and thus changed it from Stage 2 lymphoma to Stage 4 - that's what I'm assuming occurred.

And no easy way to sugar coat it? I take it this situation is a nasty one...

19wingz 06-04-2013 05:16 PM

Yes, that's what changed the diagnosis - where the cancer is. And when I say that, I just mean that it is unfortunately spreading. That doesn't mean the worst, but they will have to go more aggressive on the treatment, then.

Sphinx 06-04-2013 06:04 PM

Yes, I assumed that it had then spread. What does Stage IV directly entail though? She had an MRI done, but I suppose that was simply for the bone marrow?

19wingz 06-04-2013 06:06 PM

MRI was probably to look at the bones/tissues, too. The staging is moreso based on location for lymphoma.

Sphinx 06-04-2013 06:30 PM

I know originally she was going to have the rib, and possibly another removed, due to the cancer. As well as chemotherapy. What would a more aggressive approach be now - extensive chemo?

19wingz 06-04-2013 06:35 PM

Ya, I think extensive chemo would be the next option. I'm not 100% confident in my oncological knowledge. it's very minimal from my exposure in the hospitals.

Sphinx 06-04-2013 06:36 PM

Ugh, this makes me sick to my stomach.

MissSouthernLady 06-04-2013 06:36 PM

When my aunt had lukemia and lymphoma in the 80s. She had chemo and radiation. I will be praying for your cousin and your family.

19wingz 06-04-2013 06:40 PM

The fact that it has not been found in any major organ is a light in the dark tunnel. So the treatment will hopefully stop it from spreading to organs that could pose more danger.

Sphinx 06-04-2013 06:41 PM

Thanks Kel, appreciate and thanks Joe for your knowledge! My knowledge of cancer is limited, so I'm just trying to figure it out without resorting to google. Blessing and a curse looking up medical information...

Sphinx 06-04-2013 06:44 PM


Originally Posted by 19wingz (Post 445612)
The fact that it has not been found in any major organ is a light in the dark tunnel. So the treatment will hopefully stop it from spreading to organs that could pose more danger.

Well that's a blessing at least...although, could they just not have discovered it yet? Or do you think they would have done a catscan/MRI to detect it?

19wingz 06-04-2013 06:45 PM

Oh yes, very true. Blessing and a curse without a doubt on looking up medical knowledge. I just don't know the specifics with treatment, mostly because I didn't do an oncology rotation and only came across it during my more generalized rotations.

Sphinx 06-04-2013 07:25 PM

I don't know, it just makes me sick and sad. She's such an awesome person and we're like kindred spirits. Always laughing and so loving. Probably goes without saying, but we're close and this just pisses/scares/saddens me off so much.

I just don't understand it. Not that there is a way to understand it.

19wingz 06-04-2013 07:31 PM

That's the thing. There isn't a way to and I hate HATE HATE that you are having to go through this with someone so close to you - in age and on many levels. I send you my love, man.

Sphinx 06-04-2013 09:06 PM

I appreciate it! I just hope this is the last of the 'bad news'. She's a tough cookie and always positive and optimistic.

She just said not to worry, that it's the same treatment plan and same prognosis, just more cancer to kill than originally thought.

Excuse me, ain't nobody got time for stage 4 lymphoma. hopefully she'll be in remission soon enough.

Shiny Beige 06-04-2013 11:16 PM

Sphinx, you know our thoughts, prayers and good vibes are with you ... Hang in there!

19wingz 06-05-2013 06:52 AM

Well then there is your answer. See, staging is based on the amount of cancer and more importantly WHERE. I'm glad to hear the treatment isn't changing!

Sphinx 06-05-2013 12:40 PM

Thanks Shiny!

And ya, Joe, I'm glad it's all the same. Less worrying for me to do and much less ass kicking that she'll need to do.

Sphinx 06-06-2013 07:41 PM

Apparently the cancer is spreading very quickly, so they're gonna try and do the chemo as fast as possible. This, means, though that they might not be able to harvest her eggs for a future child...:(

19wingz 06-06-2013 08:12 PM

Ugh, Zach. I'm so sorry, bud. :(

Sphinx 06-06-2013 08:31 PM

S'okay, I'm not terribly worried until I hear more...

Sphinx 06-09-2013 08:19 PM

Apparently it was found in two places in her arm. On her humerous and right near her rotator cuff.

Chemotherapy begins June 17th.

19wingz 06-10-2013 06:58 AM

Thinking good thoughts for your friend, Zach....

Sphinx 08-25-2013 08:50 PM

How does one process cancer? I simply am at a loss right now and in a total free fall. I saw my cousin for the first time since she received the diagnosis, and I can't quite do it. It wasn't until I guess my Mom told my best friend, "Can you ask Zach how hes dealing with her having cancer? They're very close." I was fine until then. You can tell the battle has worn her down and she's subsequently broken up with her boyfriend. The prognosis is still good, but seeing her in that state of tatters isn't exactly easy. And it's a good person. A fucking spectacular person. I mean, I can see me getting cancer and having to fight for my life. I'm a shit head. Hell, if I could I'd take the cancer out of her and put it in my body. But is that selfish that I'm having such an adverse reaction?

I just can't understand it and I don't think I ever will.

And I can't lose her. And for the first time, I actually realize it's a possibility and it's on par with my Dad. What if she's not getting better? What if the Chemo is ineffective? I can't deal with this. I could barely deal with my Dad's illness, but this is a different ball park and game. I feel like I've swallowed dynamite.

I mean, look at the four of us (me, my cousin who has cancer - can't tell can you - my best friend, and my brother) at the wedding for her brother and best friend yesterday:


She looks fucking stunning and has stage god damn four cancer. Is probably one of the best people I've ever met. Always smiling, laughing, and has so much love for everyone in this god damn ill world. And she, SHE gets cancer.

I get there's no rhyme or reason, but at least take out the shitty fuckers. I need them gone. I need her.

Bigbrotherfan1977 08-26-2013 07:57 AM

Hang in there Zach. Your cousin is a fighter.

grandmamichelf 08-26-2013 12:17 PM

Then take your cue from your cousin, Zach. She sounds like a strong woman and she is doing what she has to do to fight. Fight with her! Be there for her! Walk through the light and the dark and then back into the light again! I understand feeling afraid/scared/etc of the unknown, but from what you are saying, she is facing it head on. Face it with her and be strong.

19wingz 08-26-2013 04:01 PM

Sometimes, the more you try to understand, the more difficult it becomes. Admire her so, she's a trooper and a champion. Fighters are amazing and inspirational. Focus her on will to defeat.

Sphinx 08-26-2013 09:12 PM

Oh, she'll defeat it. That side of my family has a special blood. We're resilient bad bitches, rubber even. That's not what's difficult to see. She knows I'll move heaven and hell if death comes onto the table. I will fly my little ass to Pittsburgh and make cancer cower. You don't make me make moves like that, because I will cash in ALL my god damn karmic points and make cancer my bitch.

What is difficult to watch is someone's life get totally smashed and uprooted and be totally helpless. I can't do anything more than I already do, which is keep the "normal" alive. We don't talk about her cancer aside from my "check-ins." Who wants to be constantly reminded that they're ill? Fuck that.

Yes, I can't understand it. If it was someone that was a shitty person? I could process it easier. It's just hell to watch and feeling totally helpless with your hands tied?

Y'all know me. When someone's life is going to shit, I'm the dumbass that jumps in right beside the person to stable it out. That's me. In this situation, I can do one of two things:

Bitch or inject my energy her way to give her more fight.

Some days, I just need to bitch.

I also was completely shitfaced last night. Shocking, I know.

19wingz 08-27-2013 03:22 PM

Shitfaced? Are we talking to the right Sphinx?

And yes, you can vent. That's what we're here for. Being in medicine is even tougher sometimes when you see this and you can't let it get too personal or else you will let your care of others suffer. I feel ya, man.

Sphinx 05-30-2014 06:44 PM

I totally forgot to update this...

My cousin went into remission in November. Since then we've become super close, well I guess even closer. To say the least, we're basically the same person.

Things aren't looking good and she's having a PET scan done Tuesday, because they discovered two growths bilaterally on her jugular, as well as other symptoms of the cancer returning.

Now for the very bad news...

If she has cancer again, she'll need a bone marrow transplant. While I was at work, she said that she's considering not even trying to get treatment for it.

19wingz 05-31-2014 09:04 AM

While that's a tough pill to swallow for you (and for her), you can make it positive. I know that sounds weird but she is making the decision to improve her QUALITY of life, not knowing if the transplant will do so. I think if that's the decision she makes, as difficult as it may be, support her through it and help her enjoy these moments in her life. She can make it full of quality.

Sphinx 05-31-2014 10:56 AM

Yeah, that's a really hard pill to swallow. I mean, we'll see if the PET scan determines it's back or not. But the rate at which it spread last time, I mean Jesus. I'm sure she'll end up fighting it, but...talk about feeling hopeless.

19wingz 05-31-2014 11:30 AM

Oh, I know what you're saying. Look at it that she's being hopeful. Hopeful to finish living her life in the best way she knows possible. Doing the things she has desired to do.

Sphinx 05-31-2014 11:45 AM

She told me that ultimately she'd die and I said to her, "Oh like hell you're going before me. It's an unspoken rule, I die first before all my loved ones." It's kind of like walking off the stage doing your thing instead of fighting a battle that you ultimately may not win. I don't know, she's just too young. 28 years old. How's that even fair?

Mind you, I was at work when all this went down and I became a total trainwreck after. I took the day off work yesterday. It's been too much this month for my little limbic system to process.

19wingz 05-31-2014 11:49 AM

Ya, I can't imagine taking all of that in while working. And tell me about "unfair."

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