CURED is my word of the week and might be my all-time favorite word!
I was diagnosed with stage 4 diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL – a common type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) in April 2016.
I see my oncologist every 6 months. I am now 5 years out from completing treatment and had what I hoped would be my final visit to my oncologist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) on Wednesday. I am always pretty nervous before visits, especially when blood work is involved. While I feel fine, I know unpleasant surprises are possible.
My visit started with a blood draw. Like for most of us, electronic medical records change the playing field. I saw my results before I even saw my doctor. I took a quick scan and they looked OK.
My oncologist visit was next. His name is Andrew Cowan and his new specialty is multiple myeloma. He is on the left in my post photo.
I am happy to report he was happy with my labs and my physical exam. 😊
We did talk a bit about my immune status. He was very reassuring and didn’t think I needed to take any additional precautions to prevent a COVID-19 infection, since I haven’t been under treatment for five years and haven’t had a stem cell transplant. What a relief!
At the end of the visit, he officially discharged me from his care. He also asked me if he could give me a hug. My answer, ‘YES, of course’!
I want to share his after-visit note:
Advanced stage DLBCL. She has completed 5 years of follow-up after upfront treatment for DLBCL, with a complete response. There is no clinical or laboratory evidence of disease recurrence. I advised her that she is likely cured and can continue following with her PCP. We are happy to see her again in the future if concerns arise for recurrent lymphoma, however, I think that is unlikely.Andrew J. Cowan, M.D.
I owe Dr. Cowan, the SCCA staff, and the University of Washington a huge debt of gratitude for saving my life. I also so appreciate my husband, family, and friends who hung in there during my treatment and the years since!
Wednesday was a real milestone for me and might one of my best days ever, topped only by the day we got married and the day our daughter was born!