Finally, a firm type and stage for the cancer and a treatment plan together with a case management approach

1. The nodule in my lung is probably a fungal infection that occurs frequently in this part of the country. The UNMC pathologist gave that tentative opinion this morning following a biopsy of my lung at UNMC on Friday. If that turns out to be true, the infection will be ignored for the time being and I will start treatment of the lymphoma.

2. From the bone biopsy last week, we now know that the bone marrow is free of the lymphoma.

3. Given the above, my cancer was firmly typed and staged today. I have stage III classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

4. Dr. Armitage, at UNMC, one of the world’s leading experts on lymphoma, and Dr. Green, my treating oncologist, both agree that I should start a chemo protocol developed here in Nebraska for people over 60. I will receive treatment in Lincoln.

5. I will go through six cycles of treatment. Each treatment cycle lasts 28 days. I receive chemo drugs on the 1st and 8th days by infusion into my port. On days 1-14, I also take chemo medications by mouth. Days 15-28 are for rest and no chemo is administered. Radiation is not usually required.

6. I will start the protocol as soon as the final pathology report on my lung is received by Dr. Green confirming that I have a fungal infection and not cancer in the lung. That is, I should start chemo in a week or so presuming the present shortage of some cancer drugs does not delay things.

7. Dr. Green advises that I should not plan on conducting trials during the first cycle. That is, for about a month after I start chemo, I should not plan on conducting trials because I could be very sick.* On the other hand, if the first cycle goes well, I might able to handle trials thereafter, particularly during the last 2 weeks of each cycle. But my functionality as a trial judge (always suspect in the minds of many) is yet to be determined.

8. With the marvelous help of Magistrate Judge Zwart and my judicial assistant Kris Leininger, we will manage my caseload with the foregoing in mind. At any time, concerned counsel should feel free to contact Kris or Judge Zwart with questions and concerns.

It is my intention to be utterly transparent throughout my treatment. I intend to keep the bench and bar advised as things progress.

All the best.


*Today, I asked Chief Judge Smith Camp to reassign a civil case set for April 7, 2014 that has twice been bumped. Judge Gerrard agreed to take that case and to do his best to try the case on the firm trial date I previously established. Of course, Judge Gerrard has my thanks.

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