Dear Editor:

I want to thank you for your support of the Breast Cancer Support Group of Orofino. These meetings helped and inspired me and I feel they did the same for others. I was the only one at the meeting last week and the month before and have decided to stop trying to do the support meetings at this time. I need to focus on my health and eliminate any stress I possibly can.

I loved the meetings and being available to help others and once I get this new obstacle sorted out maybe I will try again in a year or so. I do not want to lose any of my new friends I made at these meetings, and will be available for them whenever they want to talk. Just so you understand what’s going on and part of why I’ve made this decision I will share my current story with you.  

In September I felt a lump under my chin. I couldn’t get into my doctor so I went to Minor Care. I had had dental work the week before so it was felt that was why I had the lump. This is normal with dental work. I was also told it should go away in a couple weeks. I then went to San Antonio for a week, came home for four days and went to Denver for three weeks. 

When I got home I still had the lump and I felt it was bigger.  I contacted my Dr’s office and could not get in for three weeks, but he told me to go to Minor right now. 

They did blood work to make sure I did not have an infection and scheduled an ultra sound. The ultra sound showed suspicion for metastatic or lymphoma, but was inconclusive so a neck CT was performed, then a needle biopsy and it’s still inconclusive so a chest, abdomen & pelvic CT was performed. 

This ruled out metastatic, but was still inconclusive for lymphoma. I then had a bone scan and a bone density test. Jan. 15 I had surgery to have the lymph node removed. The doctor removed three lymph nodes. When the biopsies came back they showed Grade 3A follicular lymphoma. 

Monday I had a PET scan. I got the report from it yesterday. It showed my lungs and brain are clear.  (I know that surprises a few of you.) I do have lymph nodules in my thorax, chest, abdomen and thigh area. A couple of them are between 2.5 to 3 cm. I met with my oncologist yesterday. I have Grade 3A stage 3 follicular lymphoma. Grade 3 means it’s in at least three different areas of my body. He said I’ve probably had this for up to five years. I said so it was probably a good thing I had dental work and a lump appeared because then it was found now instead of later and he agreed with that. 

The A means it is slow growing. He said because I have not noticed any symptoms he recommends we do the wait and watch treatment at this time.  I will go in every three months for labs and every six months for a CT. The CT is not able to find the hot spots, but now that the PET shows us where they are we can use the CT and follow up on the activity and changes. 

He said it could take six months or six years to grow to where I notice symptoms. I asked about a second opinion and he is giving me a referral to Cancer Care Northwest in Spokane to meet with the lymphoma specialist there. I am waiting to hear from the CCN scheduler to make that appointment. 

I thought this was fantastic news. I also feel it makes sense to get a second opinion and he agreed because of the grade and stage we could go either way. The other option for treatment is four to six months of chemotherapy, once a month. I am feeling great now so if I can put the chemo off, I want to. I do see the oncologist here in six weeks so we can talk about the second opinion and which way we decide to proceed. 

God is looking in on me. If you would like to get a hold of me or need someone to talk to about what is going on with you, please call: 208-553-3872 or jlmciver@hotmail.com

Jackie McIver

Orofino

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