During my first Oncologist visit, they took some blood and I checked in to see the Dr. They were still working through the pathology, but he confirmed it looked like burkitts and he explained the next steps. This would include scheduling various tests to gain understanding of how far the cancer has spread (staging). I left the visit with a long list of new appointments and a head full of questions I should have asked at the time :). The new appointments included:
*Bone Marrow Biopsy *Echocardiogram *Chest X-Ray *PET Scan *MRI *PICC Line Insertion
The best advice I could give at this point would be to be prepared to ask all of the questions you need to ask in an effort to minimize the amount of anxiety you will have between this visit and all of the additional appointments. Most of my appointments were nearly 2 weeks out from this initial visit. This was a tough period, as I naturally attributed every ache and pain (likely many brought on by anxiety) to the cancer. I would immediately think “It has spread to my central nervous system”. Thankfully, I did not have any of the “B” symptoms of lymphoma. These are symptoms such as “fever”, “night sweats”, and “weight loss”. I did, however, have some symptoms that I attributed to the swollen node in my neck pushing on my nerve.
The first test up was my bone marrow biopsy. This was due to the fact that the results from this test take a little bit longer than the others to get back. In my case, the bone marrow biopsy actually got delayed a few days because they decided they needed more tissue to confirm my specific subset of cancer. As a result, the next step for me, was an open lymph node biopsy.