The rarity of Tamlin's cancer forced her treatment into warp speed. There's no way to predict the progress of a cancer when only 11 other people in the world have had it. Treatment was aggressive and in an unthinkable plot twist cancer had made itself at home elsewhere in her body.
It was soon July and time for my Bone Marrow Transplant BMT, by this time I had received about 2 years’ worth of chemotherapy in less than 5 months.
My oncologist had left just a couple days before, leaving for Scotland, 16,307kms away and of course, something had to come up; you can’t go into BMT with cancerous or even possible cancerous cells in your body.
An oncology fellow and a different oncologist came to our small hospital room a couple days before my BMT and took my mother out into the sterile smelling hall and once again let her bear the bad news all by herself.
They had found an abnormal, possibly cancerous, lymph node in my upper thigh from a previous recent PET scan and some possible cancer cells in my bone-marrow. I was happy and clueless, feasting on a pizza while my mother was in another room sobbing her heart out.
They performed yet another surgery and a bone-marrow biopsy the day after to remove the lymph node and test to see the re-occurrence of cancer in my bone marrow.
We started the transplant without the results, blind leading the blind. Normally the transplant would have been postponed a couple of days but with the risk of my death rising, it was full speed ahead.
We didn’t find out the results until we were a couple days deep in my BMT process. The lymph node was nothing, but the bone-marrow biopsy showed that cancer had built yet another place to live within me.
I had no idea.
Editors Note: The preparation for a BMT (in Tamlin's case 2 years of chemo in 5 months) is to clear the body of cancer in order for it to receive the donor Bone Marrow. The rarity of Tamlin's cancer meant her treatment team had to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Tomorrow Tamlin adds radiation to her 'to do' list.