Sunday, January 28, 2007


This is what a person who survived chemotherapy looks like.

So. Ok. What next? On February 1st I'll undergo a set of CT scans: neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. I'll get the results on February 6th. Until then, I'm in a state of suspended animation, not knowing what the next step in my treatment will be. Not knowing if I'm well or if the cancer is still growing.

If the scans look good, I'll move on to maintenance Rituxan which will last up to two years if all goes well. Rituxan is one of the new targeted wonder drugs that only kills CD-20 positive lymphoma cells without all the evil side effects. So I won't throw up or have gut drama, my hair can grow back, my muscles can rebuild, my puffy moon face will go back to normal. It's a type of ongoing chemotherapy that I can live with.

If the scans are questionable, we'll probably wait a few weeks then do a PET scan and possibly a biopsy, depending on where the residual tumors are. If the scans are clearly disastrous, then the next step will probably be radiation or a stem cell transplant, and I don't even want to think about that right now. It's a grim prospect, but at least it's another tool in the box.

Anyway, for the next ten days, rather than worrying myself sick with scanxiety, I'm just going to concentrate on healing. Resting, sleeping, eating well, slowly increasing my activity, maybe starting some light resistance training. I'm going to try to meditate or levitate or whatever it takes to stay calm and low-stress and living in the moment. That's all I can do.

My sincerest thanks to all of you, friends, family, and total strangers, who have been so kind and supportive throughout this horrendous ordeal. I couldn't have done it without you.

Still hanging in there!


Blogger L. said...

Sincerest thanks to YOU, for finding the courage and strength to share it so candidly!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm so glad to hear that. Here's hoping for the best.

Whatever happens, I know you will face it with courage, dignity and humor. If I ever fall sick, I hope I can cope with it as well as you have.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Ya Looblue said...

i've been waiting for this post for such a long time. i'm so happy for you.
i was sick in bed all week (literally. blugh!) and thought about you a lot...couldn't IMAGINE what you've been going through when i've been flipping out for missing the gym for a week. go get 'em liz...we're all behind you. *HUGE HUG* *~sarah

12:37 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

This news is WONDERFUL!!! And, might I add, you look fabulous. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you that your cancer is all gone.

By the way, I just found out that someone else I know has cancer that has moved to her lymph system, so your writing has taken on yet another level of meaning for me. So THANK YOU.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Lymphopo said...

Christina, I'm sorry to hear that. My cancer actually started in my lymphatic system, which is not usually as bad as when it spreads there from elsewhere. Nevertheless, it's all pretty much hell. Please give this person my very best regards and I'm rooting for her.

2:33 PM  
Blogger mimi said...

I think you look fantastic. I love, love, love your smile. :) Congratulations on completing chemo - I am very happy for you!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

Wonderful! I'm so happy for you, and I wanted to let you know we're right beside you on this road.

In solidarity,

2:48 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

There's this song by Sade that I absolutely love - called "It's Only Love that Gets You Through". It's had a special meaning for me for a long time. I think it was written for you though...

Girl you are rich even with nothing
And you know tenderness comes from pain
It's amazing how you love
And love is kind and love can give
And get no gain

It's down a rugged road you've come
Though you had every reason
You didn't come undone
Somehow you made it to the other side
You didn't suffer in vain

You forgive those who have trespassed against you
And you know tenderness comes from pain
It's amazing how you love
And love is kind and love can give
And love needs no gain

You didn't suffer in vain
You know it's only love
That gets you through
Only love, it's only love
It's only love that gets you through

I hope you're blessed with good news soon.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Survival looks very good on you indeed.

Am I imagining things or is there actually more light coming back into your face?

Fingers crossed for happy scans.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Sarah♥ said...

Wishing you all the luck in the world in your upcoming scans. Hang in there with the "scanxiety".. ;)


4:42 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

Thank you for including us on your journey. I'm so happy for you!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Elena said...

I am one of the strangers... actually a reader when you did the work for Regan nursery. You go girl! Now I have some idea about what it takes for survival. Take care, heal and enjoy life!

6:10 PM  
Blogger Trasi said...

You look terrific, and I pray that everything is clear. You have a great plan for how to deal with the waiting, and I will continue to read your quirky, spunky blobs in the meantime.

Regarding the Rituxan, I'll be anxious to see how that goes. My mom has severe rheumatoid arthritis, and they are in trials right now using Rituxan to treat severe RA. She's been on a TON of biologics, as well as Methotrexate, for YEARS, and things go well for a while, then the drugs seem to lose their effectiveness. It's like the frigging BORG from Star Trek - they seem to adapt and resist after a while. Mom's afraid of Rituxan, because they have said she'd have the severe effects of it like nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal distress, and so on, for a short time after each dose. But, on the bright side, she'd have two doses close together, I think, then not another one for several months. They say 6 months but she's a particularly tough case and usually has to half the time or double the dose or both. So let me know how that goes, and what dosage they put you on, for comparative purposes. Thanks!

7:53 PM  
Blogger KinnicChick said...

You rock. You look awesome and wonderful. I have loved exploring your blog and seeing your fabulous colorful photos.


9:00 PM  
Blogger Optimist said...

Congratulations!! You look marvelous! I am very happy for you and I love the self-care program you have designed for the next couple of weeks. You deserve some serious TLC!

All the best -

Bonnie in Houston

10:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Liz, you look fantabulous as a Chemo-Survivor!
Please allow me to make you my role model as I prepare to go kicking and screaming down the same Stage IV path.

Next stop: Medi-Port

Wanna come prune my roses?

10:58 PM  
Blogger Christopher C. NC said...

That puffy moon face looks pretty good. When was the last time you saw a forehead that wrinkle free past a certain age without Botox?

I am thinking clean scans. Clean scans. Ohmmm.

You can come visit my garden for a little meditation if you like.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Mrs Pretzel said...

I too will be wishing and praying clean scans your way. It's breezy here today, I think they will travel well.

one of the strangers

11:35 AM  
Blogger Sock Girl said...

Congratulations on reaching the other side of the chemo treatments! Keeping fingers and toes crossed that scans are fine. You are an amazing individual. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Congratulations!!!! You made it through this. What a powerful and brave thing. (More positive thoughts coming your way. Wishing you good results, and also peace and serenity and happiness during the wait.

1:05 PM  
Blogger monicac2 said...

Love the last pic. - you look good!

1:38 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

Congratulations! I can't believe I just stumbled on your "new" blog. We were diagnosed at almost the same time (breast cancer for me) and I totally understood when you disappeared for a while. I too have finished my chemo. Surgery and radiation soon, then reconstruction surgery. You are so right -- this shit ain't for the squeamish or faint of heart.

Love your bald head...


4:02 PM  
Blogger quixoticmantis said...


7:51 PM  
Blogger Lymphopo said...

Lisa and Carole: good luck with your treatments. Keep me posted on how it's going, if you have the energy to send a postcard from Hell.

9:09 PM  

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