"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -- ANDRE GIDE [CLICK on photo for larger view]
If there was one word to describe the journey of this last year with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) it is: DISCOVERY!Each step of our journey has come with the revelation of information and details which were known to others, but not to us. Now, we are about to move into a new phase of treatment at The City of Hope Comprehensive Cance Center in Duarte, CA, which is a world-renown cancer treatment center located about 25 miles from our home in Alta Loma and about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.
Our new discovery is about stem cell transplants. For a comprehensive view of that topic you can check out this website.While we (Dee Dee and I) are all but certain that the next phase of my care will include an autologous stem cell transplant (one where I am my own donor), our physicians are still evaluating that choice, meaning there may be other discoveries before the next phase of my care.
Mainly, the physicians want a brief observation period (3-4 weeks) to see if the lymphoma, which appears now to be in remission, continues in that dormant state for this period. That would be a good sign and an indication that the autologous transplant could be beneficial for long-term remission. Long-term, for me, is defined as 2-3 years, while we await more discoveries that may offer a cure of the disease in the future. For now, the autologous stem cell transplant procedure involves a 4-6 week stay in the hospital and a total recovery time of 8-10 weeks.
On the other hand, if the lymphoma returns quickly while we are in this brief "holding" period, the doctors may recommend another course; hence, other discovery.One only has to deal with the reality of a life-threatening condition to appreciate the daily opportunity for discovery. And like Glide says, the journey may be long, even if "long" has never appeared so "short."