The Trapeze Swinger

We all had an impossibly difficult weekend because my Dad was diagnosed with Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia (WM), a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Going into the weekend, we were expecting a cancer diagnosis on Monday, but were hoping for something else. We didn’t expect anything to develop over the weekend, but nurses told my Mom and Dad to watch out for exhaustion over the weekend… and when it was too much, they went in on Saturday.

The ER folks were surprised a transfusion hadn’t been initiated earlier. Suddenly, on Saturday, we got the diagnosis we thought we’d get on Monday.

Saturday hurt a lot: we had no handle on the prognosis. How long did we have? What should we be doing? Everyone was reading, reading, reading… trying to figure out what to expect. I was frantically pulling Robbins Basic Path off my shelf and refreshing my memory with Wikipedia. From there, I jumped into the primary literature. We were advised to look for clinical trials of drugs, because the disease is so rare and the treatment not necessarily straightforward. Everyone was down, but trying to put a good face on things.

Sunday, the oncologist talked with my parents and sister. He had relatively good news: WM tends to be indolent, and can be managed with chemotherapy (alkylating agents, purine analogs) and Rituximab. It sounds like we can expect relatively normal (though closely monitored) periods punctuated by treatment. Chemo could start as early as this week. The words we cling to: “This is something that can be managed.”

This whole thing has blown in like a blizzard through open windows.

I’m happy I live near my family. I’m relieved that my stupid late-adolescent mind has given way to a mature head that sought to rebuild whatever damage my previous college self caused… before something like this happened. Most of all, I’m thankful for the time.

2 comments left


Justin Gehring

That really makes for rough weekend. And the truth is, we never know when I time will come, and I’m happy to hear that it sounds like you will get more time with your father. Just know that my prayers are with you and your family as you all face this together.

Alexander Micek

Hey Justin. Thanks for the note of support. We’re working through things — my Mom is doing all of the tough day to day stuff. Anyhow, thanks for the prayers.

Also: congratulations on your baby in progress! 9 months to compile…

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