I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma (FL) in late 1997. I had been traveling internationally for business and noticed a very small pimple-like structure on my right temple, and thought, “as soon as I get back to the States, I will have it taken care of.” After going to a series of doctors, I had surgery. Two weeks after having surgery, I learned that I had indolent follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Not knowing anything about lymphoma or that lymphoma was considered a cancer—I said to the surgeon, “Okay, what do we do about it?” I thought I just had to take a pill, or keep an eye on it, or put a salve on it or something like that.
As we discussed the diagnosis further, I was very surprised to learn that it was an actual cancer. After meeting with my oncologist, I decided to have a bone marrow biopsy. I was very happy to learn that there was no indication that the cancer had spread and that it was pre-Stage I. I was told there was a small chance (about 10-12 percent) that by discovering the lymphoma early, we very well could have gotten it and it would not return. I decided to have radiation to the cranial area and no other treatment. I had radiation for about a month and I was also careful about my diet and taking supplements. We sat back and I had an every four month oncology checkups.
About five years later, I relapsed in a different area of my body. At the time of my relapse, I was fortunate that a new chemotherapy for FL, called rituximab (Rituxan), became available. I started treatment with R-CHOP, a combination of traditional CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone) chemotherapy and rituximab, and also elected to do a maintenance program, after the initial R-CHOP of just rituximab every six months for two years. Today in 2017 I still seem to be in complete remission. When I moved to central Florida, I read a newspaper article about Dr. Cultrera at Florida Cancer Specialists. We met and we appeared to be kindred spirits. I see Dr. Cultrera twice a year for a complete oncology checkup. I couldn’t find a better oncologist for me.