I’ve been sitting on this knowledge for about a week now. My dad had an appointment with his oncologist last week for a check-up – on my parents’ 37th anniversary – and the doctor told him that he has indolent lymphoma in his intestine. I think my mom said it’s near his right leg, but I could have that mixed up.

The oncologist said it’s not something to worry about right now. They’re just going to watch and wait. “Aggressively watch” is the term he used, which means my dad will have more frequent testing than he would have had before. Every few months, he will be alternating PET scans with CAT scans. A colonoscopy is not necessary at this point, which made him pretty happy.

My mom was blindsided with the news. We thought my dad was in full remission. Now we found out that he has some cancer still inside him, quietly lurking in his intestine. It’s not doing anything right now. Indolent means slow-growing. It could be years before it decides to grow and spread. But the doctors will be watching for it now, which means that it won’t be too advanced when the changes are detected. Hell, he was in Stage IV with his Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) and he got that aggressive form of the cancer knocked out of his system. Remission.

His oncologist said he wouldn’t recommend chemotherapy yet at this point anyway, but from the very limited research I’ve done on the topic, rituximab is the preferred method of treatment for indolent lymphoma. That’s the most expensive drug he was on for his initial chemo cocktail at $11,000 per dose. (Yay insurance!)

But I’m not going to let myself read too much about it, because all it will do is increase my anxiety. There is literally nothing we can do about the cancer right now except watch and wait, so I’m trying to be uncharacteristically patient. I destroyed myself with anxiety as my dad battled his Mantle Cell Lymphoma. I won’t let myself run at that fever pitch of neurosis for years while we wait for the cancer to decide what it’s going to do to his body.

So once again, I ask for your thoughts and your prayers. We’re in it for the long haul this time. At least I know that my dad is retiring at the end of November, so he will be able to enjoy life a bit more instead of worrying about work and cancer at the same time.

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