I thought long and hard about whether to post an entry about this. Truth be told, there’s a part of me that still doesn’t want to. The problem with that is that I have no good reason for keeping it to myself, especially when there are people out there whom I know would want to know. This isn’t because I did anything wrong. Much as Type-1 diabetes picked my wife at age sixteen, this decided to pick me at thirty-one. So here goes.
This past Tuesday, I got a phone call from my doctor informing me that I had cancer.
Before this goes any further, I feel like I have to say something. Whenever people see or hear that word, they immediately think the worst. Allow me to assure you: I am not going to die. The particular cancer I have is called mycosis fungoides, and it’s a type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. It is extremely rare, only affecting five in every million people (for those who keep up with me on Facebook, my “I’m five in a million!” post will now make sense – that was typed literally as I was leaving the doctor’s office). Despite its name, mycosis fungoides is not fungal. It does, however, have some of the physical characteristics of a fungal infection, hence the name. I did put a link to its wikipedia page up there, but take my advice and resist the urge to look it up too in-depthly, because all it’s going to do is make you think, “Bull crap, Lee, you are going to die!” I’m not. The pictures of mycosis fungoides you’ll find on the internet are nothing – let me repeat, nothing – like what I have. I have several small patches that don’t look anything like the massive sores and lesions you’ll find if you look on Google images. I was fortunate enough to catch this very early, still in its infant stage. Typically, mycosis fungoides is incurable (but manageable), however we may have even discovered it early enough to wipe out entirely. That’s the prayer.
I took my first dose of pill-based chemotherapy on Wednesday, addition to being prescribed two potent steroid creams specifically geared toward this type of condition, which is strictly surface-based (in other words, this isn’t in my organs). In two weeks I have a follow-up, at which point I’ll know a lot more about how well the treatments are working. I believe they’ll work well, as I’ve already seen signs of significant improvement in less than a week of utilizing these creams. And obviously, the chemo will do its thing, too. For those wondering, no, I won’t be losing any hair. The only side effect I’ve felt to this point has been a headache that came the day after the pills, which are once-a-week pills.
There’s a chance, being what it is, that I may have to deal with this for the rest of my life. Though it can go into remission for 10+ years, unless it can be wiped out completely at the outset, it’s always there. Lurking. Waiting. Like a necrilid in the dark.
I put that last little bit in there for a reason. I’m still me. Is this depressing? Yeah. Is it stressful? Heck yeah. I feel about like you would if your doctor told you that you had cancer. But all things happen for a reason, and all things work for the glory of God. I have no clue what will happen, here. As confident as everyone is that this will be wiped out, there’s always a chance it won’t be. That’s life. But I was never in control of life, anyway. As a writer, I can put Scott Remington, and Svetlana, and Jayden, and Esther through terrible things. I can pretty much wreck their lives. But I can do this because I, unlike them, know what the next pages hold. I know chapters that are books away that they can’t even begin to see in the midst of their crisis. And I know, because I love them, that they’re going to be okay. That trials will make them better. That though none of them are guaranteed smooth sailing or even survival, I will never forsake them, because they are mine. If I, the wretched sinner than I am, can feel this way about characters I made up, how much vastly greater is God’s love for me, one of his children? It can’t even be compared.
In the meantime, please just say a prayer for me. That’s the best way anyone can help. Forgive me if I’m occasionally a little “blah,” and if you happen to be an Epic fan, good gravy, please talk to me about Epic. Escaping to the world of Novosibirsk, and Room-14, and Bakmas, and E-35s is like, the greatest therapy in the world right now. It’s like medicine.
And that’s it. I don’t plan on harping on this topic, but I will keep people posted as things develop. Hopefully I won’t need to for much longer!
(because I’m cured, not dead)