The call finally came from the oncologist early this afternoon telling us that the test results are in and asking us to come in as soon as possible.
The diagnosis is as follows:
Ford has what is termed Composite Lymphoma. He has 3 (yes, that is a three) kinds of Lymphoma: (all are technically Non-Hodgkin)
In the bones: Waldenstrohms. To date it is incurable, but is treatable and has a life expectancy measured in decades. It is a low grade B cell lymphoma and is slow progressing. It is a rare form of cancer.
In the stomach: MALT which stands for "Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue." It is an uncommon form of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. It is also a low-grade, slow progressing. Currently incurable, but treatable.
The third cancer is Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. It is common. It is curable. It is high-grade and more aggressive. This is at a Stage 4 because it is a "probable cause of his lung issues." Without treatment survival is 1-2 years.
The oncologist wanted Ford to begin treatment tomorrow morning. We have asked for 48 hours to be able to try to comprehend all we've been told, to deal with insurance issues, and talk with BYU Human Resources.
Because the drugs used in the chemo treatment are so high powered and so his immunity will be low or nil, we were counseled to keep Ford pretty protected. Absolutely no exposure to anyone that is ill and no exposure to any one that has recently received vaccinations.
The treatments are 1 day (except for the first one which is a two-day procedure) every 3 weeks. His white blood cell count will drop dramatically and take approximately 3 weeks to build back up. After 6 cycles (approximately 6 months) he will be retested to see how well the treatment is working.
While we are grateful that these are treatable forms of cancer, we are well aware that the treatment will make Ford very sick, weak, and vulnerable. It will be an long, arduous process. There can be some very nasty side effects and the drugs do have some risks.
We appreciate the support we have received through phone calls, emails, and visits. We especially ask for continued prayers in Ford's behalf. One of the difficult realities for Ford is that he will not be able to participate in some of his favorite activities of playing Frisbee, riding his tricycle, and working in the Temple for a little while.
Ford's quote for the day: "It is a fight to the death. Odds are 2 out of 3 of winning. I'll take those odds." (all said with a pirate accent) (-: