You know that phrase “Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200”? That is exactly what I heard when Z called to tell me that my latest test confirmed I still Hodgkin’s Lymphoma despite my treatment. A few days earlier I went under the knife for a second time to have two pesky inflamed nodes removed from my neck area, which had a 50/50 chance of being cancerous again. Z was hopeful that the lymph nodes were angry about something other than cancer, because it was rare to be resistant to treatment. Being the realist that I am, I hoped for the best but prepared for what I was pretty sure the results would be: cancer again. My thoracic surgeon gave my parents the unofficial results of cancer right after the biopsy, so needless to say I didn’t bat an eyelash (cause I still had them) when I woke up and my parents told me. So now I have a larger neck scar, am down two more lymph nodes, and still have Hodgkin’s – so it certainly looked like the chance card I just picked up said “Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200”!
That particular chance card is often accompanied by the phrase ‘go directly to jail’. And well in some respect the universe just put me in that position. My newly defined refractory status (a person who does not respond to first line treatment or induction failure) lead me down a path of appointments and decisions all ending up at the same location metaphorical jail. I went to Boston, so Doctor J could explain my ‘sentence’. She explained that I would need intensive chemotherapy and an auto stem cell transplant (solitary confinement), totaling a three week hospital stay followed by 100 days of house arrest (isolation period to protect immune system). So like I said ‘jail time’. Doctor J commented that she was surprised to see me smiling despite my sentence, but truly who wouldn’t do time if the end result was a cancer free life. Plus I was a little excited to know that my ‘cell’ could be decorated and I would not have to don the pin striped johnny. All in all my sentence, while harsh, still seemed doable.
My sentencing doesn’t officially begin until October, but I have a lot to do between then and now. After Doctor J, reassured me that I’d be a hit in the joint thanks to my attitude, I went back to Z for me pre-sentencing appointments. And once again my calendar was full of prep work – blood tests, another echo, chemo school 2, dental appointments and more. So while I didn’t get to ‘pass Go’ and was not fortunate enough to ‘advance to Broadway’ or ‘take a ride on the Reading’ and I definitely ended up paying $200, I do get a ‘chance’ to still beat this thing and like most Monopoly games it’s going to take a while longer to win.