Penny’s Blog

Why this is here

Posted on: October 21, 2008

I’m pretty psyched that I finally have a reason, a theme, an excuse for a blog.  I got diagnosed with lymphoma this month, and it’s the most interesting conversation-starter that’s been thrown my way in a while.  (It’s also a welcome distraction from election season.)  Rather than flooding people’s mailboxes with all the excruciating details of my treatment, I’ll post info here and people can check it out if they want.

So… the official diagnosis is “Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell type, with c-myc translocation.”  There’s been something suspicious on my gums for about 4 years now… the gums were biopsied, lymphoma was suspected, and I actually got worked up at the UNC Cancer Center in 2005.  But there was no conclusive diagnosis.  The condition didn’t grow enough to announce itself until this September.  At a regular checkup the dentist noticed some bone loss on my x-rays, the surgeon and pathologist did a biopsy of jaw bone, and here we are.

Treatment starts tomorrow:  Chemo on the R-CHOP regimen, once every 3 weeks for 6 rounds.   R-CHOP is a combination of Rimuxitab (a monoclonal antibody that zeroes in on evil lymphocytes), Cytoxan (cancer-killer), HO (other nasty toxic stuff), and Prednisone (a steroid).  The medical team will give me all sorts of drugs to counteract the bad side effects of chemo, but we can still expect that I’ll start losing my hair in a week or two, that I will feel tired, and that there are days I’ll need to avoid crowds because my immune system will be languishing.

Thanks to all of you who’ve offered support.  I have a fantastic network of friends, relatives, co-workers, and medical staff.  If I wanted, I probably could have people holding my hand, doing my shopping, walking my cat, and making me casseroles 24 hours a day.

Much more detail to come.


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  • dswope: I just happened by after my I received an email from a close colegue that he was headig for IVPalooza. All I knew was that it was a form of chemo.
  • Brian: Hi Penny; When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma I found your site. Reading about what you went through was incredibly helpful to me. Tha
  • Tricia: Still here; still caring; still rooting you on!


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