Stuart and I met with Dr. Hellner for about an hour this morning and discussed my history, her initial thoughts (lymphoma) and possible next steps. She explained to us that there are two main types of lymphoma, Hodgkin's Lymphoma (HL) and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL). She mentioned that at my age (36), I was certainly in the age group for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, although Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma was certainly a possibility as well.
For all the nerds in the group, Hodgkin's has a bi-modal distribution, meaning that it is most common (modal) at two (bi-) points in life. It is most likely to be diagnosed in people in their twenties or thirties. It is less common in middle age and becomes more common again after age 60. Non-Hodgkin's occur more often as your age increases. The cause of Lymphoma is unknown, the prognosis varies based on type and stage, but inevitably the treatment is some type of chemotherapy.
Here are the websites that I have visited and would like to share.
Lymphoma Research Foundation http://www.lympoma.org/
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
Both Stuart and I left Dr. Hellner's office glad that we went. We both had a sense of realism that having cancer would not be ideal, but that Lymphoma is curable.
Next steps are to go forward with the mediastinoscopy tomorrow morning to try to get more biopsy tissue, as well as to schedule appointments next week for heart and lung tests (baselines prior to chemotherapy).
On a lighter note, my Mom came down this evening and will be staying with us through Sunday to help with the kids and the house.