Al Gustafson

First post: Sep 27, 2018 Latest post: Feb 1, 2019
Usually when one considers writing for public consumption, he thinks of writing a cover story for Rolling Stone or Sports Illustrated; or perhaps she dreams of writing a NY Times best seller. Here I am, back on CaringBridge (formerly Carepages), to write about another experience with cancer.  At least this time it is my own. Thank you for finding your way here, and for any encouragement and prayer you will offer my family or others you may know facing a health crisis.
Mine began on August 14, when I found a lump in my left groin ... that will definitely get your attention. Luckily, I got in the very next day for an ultrasound, which led to a biopsy and a diagnosis of lymphoma. The pathology from the biopsy was inconclusive (optimism still alive) and subsequently I had a simple surgery to remove the entire lump. (most happy to have that out of me) That was September 7. On September 20, I received the definitive diagnosis of diffuse B cell lymphoma with some molecular markers that warrant a more intensive treatment called DA EPOCH R ... for those of you who may have been down this road before.  (optimism dashed, hope very much alive).  The treatment requires 4-6 cycles of a chemo cocktail given in the hospital over the course of 4-5 days. Assuming blood counts hold up, each cycle lasts 21 days.
There is good news. After lots of tests with innocuous sounding names like PET and CAT (this is probably an ok time to admit I have never liked cats), only a trace of disease was found in my left groin area. So, not only is my disease localized, I have absolutely no symptoms ... other than those that are stress related ... which I have more than enough of.  Just before I found the lump, my family and I recently returned from a 100 miles of hiking in the Canadian Rockies. (hence my profile picture) So thankfully, my health is excellent ... aside from the lymphoma, which is not only treatable but also curable.
One of the difficult things for someone going though a health crisis or some other type of trauma, is having to tell and retell your story. Thanks be to God, I have family and friends who care about hearing my story. So as a way of staying in touch, I will be updating these CaringBridge pages from time to time and you will receive a notification when I do.  Until then, please keep my family in your prayer, and you will be in ours. 

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