The oncologist said,
“You have Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver. It is rare cancer. I recommend that you take R-CHOP, usually with a regimen of four drugs (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone), plus the monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan). This regimen is most often given in cycles three weeks apart. Because this regimen contains the drug doxorubicin, which can damage the heart, it may not be suitable for patients with heart problems, so other chemo regimens may be used instead.”
He continued: “You can be in-patient at UCLA Hospital, so nurses and specialists will take care of everything to make sure for the first time, and you will be very comfortable there. I want you to make an appointment for chemotherapy right now and make a PET/CT appointment before chemotherapy.” He also said, very casually, “You need to take a bone marrow test.”
He did not stop. He asked me, “What kind of insurance do you have?”
His assistant said, “Ms. Suzuki has only Medicare.”
He said, “Medicare? That will not cover everything.
Do you have a secondary insurance to cover the rest of the cost?”
He looked down and continued, “Then you can be just out-patient to save money, but you must find your secondary insurance ASAP.”
Meanwhile, I did not say much.
The doctor said to my husband, Eric, “I think your wife is upset and not saying anything.
Well, you can think with her and decide on a chemotherapy date ASAP. Today, just do a blood test.”
I was shocked, confused, lost, and frozen. I did not want to say anything when I was in that state, and I did not really know what to say, either. I felt that the doctor’s voice was coming from far, far away. I knew I had to speak up to let him know how I felt… time was ticking.
I said, “I am not saying much because you just told me I have a very rare cancer. Don’t you know that I am shocked right now? I don’t think I can talk much now. I need time to digest this shocking, unexpected news.”
He said, “I understand, but the sooner you make a decision to do chemotherapy, the better.”
I asked him, “Do you ever have any patients who have same cancer as mine?” He said no. I asked if there was any way for him to find an oncologist who’d done treatment for this rare cancer. He said, “My three colleagues at UCLA who are lymphoma oncologists do no have experience with any patients with this rare lymphoma—so I don’t think so.”
I felt like he was a businessperson. I did not want to talk to him anymore, but I also did not want to leave the room with an uncomfortable feeling. So I said, “I have one thing I want to tell you before you leave: Your website photo is not so friendly, so you might want to change it.” He first looked at me like, What is she saying, but then he realized what I was talking about. He laughed and said, “I felt the same.” I was relieved to see he was able to laugh as a human.
I do not remember how I came home. I was too shocked to feel anything. I felt like I was trapped in a hole and could not seem to come out for a while again.
Slowly, my mind started to work and realized how serious this is for my life, Eric’s life, our animal family’s life, friends, family, students, and clients.
I first felt it couldn’t be cancer! What really happened to me?
No, I do not have cancer after 24 years cancer-free…
but the reality is that I have cancer again.
I am sad, disappointed, lost, confused, and scared once again. Silent—inside, I am calm and positive. Storm—my surface is chaotic and full of negative and insecure thoughts. I close my eyes and focus my breathing deep inside myself. I feel and hear what my surface is saying, acknowledge the thoughts, and move to focus more on my breathing. I repeat this over and over. Sometime later, I did not feel or hear negative or insecure thoughts.
I am shocked to find out I have cancer again, but I know I want to live—and I will live.
I am so grateful for 24 years of cancer-free life, and I’m now making an effort to accept my new journey and learn to live preciously all over again.
Photo: Eric brought his delicious lunch for me.
I know that even though I have been eating healthy lifestyle foods, like macrobiotic and/or whole, plant-based food, I am not going to live forever. Is this my time to go to heaven? No. I feel this is not my time yet.
Healing is multilayered; everything from emotions and beliefs, to the physical environment, affect our state of health.
From Louise Hay’s book Self Healing:
LIVER PROBLEMS (hepatitis): Resistance to change. Fear, anger, hatred. Liver is the seat of anger and rage.
Affirmation: My mind is cleansed and free. I leave the past and move into the new. All is well.
CANCER: What’s eating at you? Deep hurt, secrets, or grief.
Affirmation: I lovingly forgive and release all of the past. I choose to fill my life with joy. I love and approve of myself.
I need to let go of the past and take care of emotional wounds. It will take a big overhaul this time.
I found a new oncologist whom I could to talk to about my feelings and receive human compassion. I was admitted to UCLA Hospital in Santa Monica for treatments now.
I feel less stress, so I feel more strength to move forward. I shall keep writing when I am able to do so.
Photo: Admitted to UCLA with V sign…I am so Japanese!
Photo: My routine arm exercise with a half pound weight.
Photo: Feeling good day, Yoko-san came to visit!
Thank you for your prayers and continuous support. My mailing address is:
2610A 23rd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
I will not be able to personally reply to each person, but I promise I will read everyone’s messages, emails, and cards.
Love, Sanae 💖