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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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news, not good.

Last Thursday, I started to feel sick in my throat, and by the end of the evening, I had a bad headache behind my left eye. My sinuses closed up that night and I felt like I had a really bad head cold. Friday was worse, and by Saturday night, the headache was so painful I was in tears. I was gobbling so much Tylenol and Ibuprofen I was feeling nauseous, but nothing helped.

B and I eventually connected some dots Saturday night and realized that a tooth filling I'd had replaced a week earlier may have become infected or absessed, and we called our dentist at home. She put me on Tylenol 3's with codeine along with penicillin and asked me to come in for a check-up and possible root canal Monday morning. I was bummed, but the T3's helped a bit with the pain and I was glad we'd found the problem.

But unfortunately, that wasn't the problem. The dentist ruled out absess by X-ray and recommended that I visit my family doc to investigate what she suspected was a bad sinus infection. My wife did one better than that and got me in to see an ENT (Ears Nose and Throat) specialist that she went to med school with, and he scoped me in his clinic that afternoon. After seeing something back there that looked wrong, he took 4 biopsies of a mass at the back of my throat and brought me down for a head and neck CT.

B's new position at the other hospital across the harbour still provides access to the radiology films done in Halifax, so later that afternoon, she checked out my CT results, and after confirming with the ENT doc I'd seen that day, she came home to me that night with some bad news. It was confirmed yesterday when the final pathology from the biopsies came in: I have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer.

I don't know a lot about this yet, other than it's not surgically treatable and that it frequently responds well to chemotherapy and/or radiation. One of my old good friends fey has just spent the past couple of years dealing with this, but I haven't kept in touch with her for awhile and don't know how she's doing. I had a full-body CT done this morning though, and will have a nuclear medicine scan done early next week, so probably by this time next week we'll have a full handle on exactly what type of lymphoma I have and what my treatment options will be. At the very least, I'm expecting to do some chemo for the next several months and our lives will be shaken upside down for awhile.

I guess I won't be worrying too much about finding or starting new work for awhile now, but I also expect that I'll be writing some more in here to keep track of my progress and just keep in touch. I'm still in good spirits right now, keeping up a positive attitude and all that jazz, just waiting to see what the next week and months will bring. They probably won't bring my death though, so I'm not too worried about what else will get tossed my way. I'm not ready to leave my girls yet though (shit, I'm only 31 anyway!), so I'm ready to take on whatever else comes along.

Shout out to y'all. Big loves to everyone.


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fey July 15th, 2004

I'm at work, so I can't stay long, but I just read this and wanted to offer my support.

This is... man, I don't know what to say. I'm so sorry.

I actually have hodgkin's lymphoma, not non-hodgkin's--we just found out that it's come back, after my transplant last year. I start chemo again on Tuesday, and I'm going for another transplant--this one, an allo (non-related donor, as opposed to the auto, my own cells, that I had last year).

I'm so sorry, Dustin. Please let me know what happens, okay? I feel bad that we've sort of lost touch. I haven't been around too much of late, but whenever I am, I always check in to see how you're doing.

I'm just sorry. I don't know what to say. You're in my prayers/meditations.


essence July 15th, 2004
lots of healing in your direction... keep us posted!

umbada July 15th, 2004
You are pure love and nothing can touch that.

kumaraka July 15th, 2004
My God, I'm so sorry. Please keep us all updated. I can't describe how much I admire your positive attitude.

nt July 15th, 2004
I'm sorry to hear you are going through this, Dustin. I'll be thinking of you (and following your progress in your LJ, of course).

jjjiii July 16th, 2004
Oh geez, that sucks. What bad news for you to have to bear. I hope that you get better.

starskin July 16th, 2004
Wow, this is terrible and unexpected. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way....please please take care and keep a positive attitude. And also keep us posted. We're all rooting for you.

ctiee July 27th, 2004
I'm very sorry to hear this and I hope things turn out well.

grammardog July 31st, 2004
I'm really shocked and sorry to hear this awful news, Dustin. I hope everything turns out well, and I'll continue to think good thoughts for you.


iamom August 3rd, 2004
Sara, how wonderful to hear from you! Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it. I hope you're doing well.

By the way, is everything still cooking with your guitar-playing boy? I haven't had much time to read friends pages lately...


(Deleted comment)
iamom August 13th, 2004
Thanks, man. Much appreciated. And you're right, it is funny to wish that, but that is what we're hoping for! :)

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