#160–Knowing is better than not knowing . . .


When it comes to cancer, the biopsy’s the thing. It lets you know what you’re up against.

Some people would rather not know and pretend all is well. In my case, pain and weight loss let me know all was not well. Before the biopsy, my doctor thought it was lymphoma, but everyone else was worried about metatastic melanoma because I have had two melanoma skin cancers. With everyone expressing concern about those skin cancers, that became my worry too.

So a week ago Friday, when Dr. Pearson called and said it was B Cell Lymphoma, I was relieved. I had done some research online and realized that this was the most common lymphoma and very treatable, if you can tolerate the prescribed protocol.

He had already made an appointment for me with the oncologist he admires and trusts the most to handle this type of cancer at the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute in Eugene. So this past week, I went there to meet with Dr. Buchanan. He answered my questions, got any forms and prescriptions I will need ready for me and then went over the drugs and protocol in detail. He also jotted down a schedule. He made the overwhelmingness of the whole situation less daunting.

If the lymphoma is in an early stage, radiation is often used first. But mine is in an advanced stage––above and below the diaphragm. So my prescribed protocol is six sessions of chemo at three-week intervals in Eugene and then possibly radiation.

Before the chemo starts, I need two more tests. A PET whole body scan to find any more enlarged lymph nodes, which I’ll do Monday in Eugene. And a MUGA scan of my heart to make sure it is healthy enough to withstand one of the chemo drugs. This test can be done in Florence.

He knows something's up, but not what. He won't let me out of his sight.

He knows something’s up, but not what. He won’t let me out of his sight.

Next Thursday, I start chemo in Eugene. My whole life has changed and will continue to change, but my one constant is Sir Groucho. Wherever I go in the house, day or night, he is close by. He knows something is up, because our routine has been so disrupted. He’s simply not letting me out of his sight

Meanwhile, my fourth book is progressing. A couple of weeks ago, I gave the manuscript of Colorful Animals I Have Known to my publisher, Bob Serra of Pacific Publishing, to edit. He has recently returned from a trip and let me know that he’ll get started on it soon.

I met with illustrator Karen Nichols yesterday, and she showed me about 10 of the 15 illustrations she has agreed to paint. I am very pleased with how they are turning out. On a couple of them, she has to rework Asa’s pom-pom tail, otherwise no changes. We went over the last five or so illustrations. Now, she’ll be able to complete the project. So I’m tentatively planning on having the editing and photos and illustrations all ready to put together by the end of November.

Karen is about two-thirds of the way through with the illustrations for Colorful Animals I Have Known.

Karen is about two-thirds of the way through with the illustrations for Colorful Animals I Have Known.

Also on the plus side, my friends have been calling and emailing with support and friends and neighbors have been taking me to medical appointments, to fill prescriptions, to get groceries, etcetera, which is greatly appreciated, since I’m not driving due to the pain meds. Actually, the support has been overwhelming! I’ve just been stunned!

Next week is a really big week with the PET scan, MUGA scan, and start of chemo. I’ll let you know how it all goes.

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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8 Responses to #160–Knowing is better than not knowing . . .

  1. Beth Collins says:

    Judy, I know you are aware and can feel the love and support of friends and family, but I wanted to remind you again that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you have a tough week ahead (and weeks to come). Know that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1 I pray that you can feel His presence and peace as you walk through this journey.

  2. Roberta Brazell says:

    You are such a positive and strong woman, which is what is needed right now! That, and great friends…including Sir Groucho! Sending positive thoughts your way with Peace and good health wishes attached…Your adventures have been a joy for me to read since I found you!

  3. Brenda Bonham Howe says:

    Judy, I am sorry you are going through this health set-back. Attitude is a great part of positive outcomes and you are one I believe will strive to maintain proactive, positive outlook. I hope you continue to use the health products you sold me about 12 years ago (or something very similar). There are very beneficial nutritional options to promote your immune system. Currently, I am commuting to Florence to teach a C.N.A. class for one of the facilities. I’ll be commuting through Nov. I believe. If possible, if you are up to it, perhaps I can come out for a short visit. However, I am totally understanding about how valuable your restorative time will be. I just received word from the marketing director at Springer Publishing that my book is now available for sales. I need to coordinate my presence at some upcoming conferences, etc. to market the book. How I think of YOU and all the time and effort you’ve put into marketing your books. 🙂 My thoughts and prayers are with you, Judy. xoxox

    • Judy Fleagle says:

      Yes, I’m using the health products, Mannatech, and I’ve just greatly increased my amounts of Ambrotose. Congrats on your book!!! If you want your book to sell, it’s all about marketing. Yes, do stop by. I’d love to see you. Be careful on your trips over here.

  4. Phyllis Bright says:

    Will have you in my thoughts the whole time Judy. I really admire you. Love, Phyllis

    • Judy Fleagle says:

      Thanks, Phyllis. And I admire you and the way you have handled your MS. So are you doing any more paintings? I’m really enjoying the ones you gave me.

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