Before I can start my chemotherapy treatment, I’ve been booked in for a number of other tests. As well as a battery of blood tests that I was given last week, I’ve had a bone marrow biopsy today to see if the cancer has spread there and tomorrow I’ll be undergoing a PET scan in Nottingham so that the extent of the lymphoma can be understood and staged. Stage I is the earliest, with stage IV being the most advanced. Due to the way that mantle cell lymphoma hides itself from the body’s immune system, I’ve been told to expect that I’m likely to have progressed to stage III or IV. Not good, but of itself it won’t affect the treatment regime I’ve been put onto.
I also have to go back to Derby for a MUGA scan on Friday – this will help in understanding whether my heart is likely to be up to the job of withstanding the treatment. I’m not expecting any nasty surprises, but then again, I wasn’t expecting a lymphoma diagnosis when I first went to my GP with the lump on the side of my neck in July.
The PET and MUGA scans both require a radioactive compound to be injected into me, so I expect that I might have a green glow around me by the weekend – just like the children on the old “Ready Brek” advertisement used to have.
The bone marrow biopsy certainly lived up to its billing of “uncomfortable”, and I may have let one or two naughty words slip out while it was being performed, for which I apologise to the nurse and doctor who looked after me. I’ll try not to be such a wimp next time around, but I know I make a rotten patient. Still, at least I’ll get a lot of practice over the next few weeks!