I was sitting at my desk at work when my cell rang. I could tell from the caller ID that it was Dr. Shoushtari. Maybe she has the results of the biopsy. “Linda, this is Dr. Shoushtari. I have the results.” She paused. I waited. “I’m so sorry. It’s cancer. You have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”
I had become a Google expert in various types of cancer, including the differences between Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. “I want to be sure I’m clear on what you just told me Dr. Shoushtari,” I said. “Did you say Hodgkin or Non-Hodgkin?” She confirmed I have Hodgkin Lymphoma, which is the more treatable of the two.
I was numb, but not totally shocked. There had been enough indicators that I had begun to prepare myself for a not so positive outcome.
“They have made enormous progress in this particular cancer Linda. You will survive this.” We discussed next steps. I was trying hard to keep it together. “I’m okay,” I said, starting to cry. “It’s okay to cry,” Dr. Shoushtari said. A cancer survivor herself, I could hear the emotion in her voice. “You need to spend the next couple of weeks grieving Linda. Cry. Get mad. And then get ready to fight your hardest.”
I tried to collect myself as I dialed Don’s number. “Hey, go take a walk and call me back on your cell,” I told him. He called me back. “Hey,” he said. “Hey,” I said. “I just got the biopsy results from Dr. Shoushtari.” I paused. He waited. “I have Hodghkin Lymphoma. Apparently this is better than Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.” He asked me a few more questions, I answered, and we decided to leave our offices and meet at home to talk further.
As I discussed the diagnosis with a coworker the next day, she told me her brother-in-law had been diagnosed about 10 years ago. She said he’s doing well and has not had a recurrence. “If you have to get cancer, this is the kind to get.”