I have cancer again.

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I have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, specifically Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. For those keeping track at home, this is a different cancer than I went through before (that was Hodgkin’s). I will begin a combination of chemo and immune therapy in the next week. The prognosis is good. While it is an aggressive cancer, it is treatable, and indeed, curable. After three rounds of chemo over the summer there will most likely be some spot radiation then more chemo. If that doesn’t do the trick there are several “plan Bs.”

The reason I am making this public is that I will not be accepting new travel or speaking engagements until further notice. I plan on keeping my current commitments this fall and have been in touch with the organizers. Also, I’m about to lose what little hair I have left and am seeking sympathy 😉 I am continuing as director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science with the support of my faculty and dean. I worked through the last set of trials, I plan to do so here as well.

Getting my third cancer diagnosis is scary (though technically I can now be called a lymphomaniac). But I am privileged to have a flexible job, supportive colleagues, an amazing caregiver in my wife, and health insurance (which should be a right not a privilege…come on America). If you want to know how you can help, the short answer is give blood.

21 responses on “I have cancer again.

  1. Sue Considine

    Dave, damn this F…ing Cancer. I am so happy to hear that this is treatable and curable but feel so angry that you have to go through this again. Consider blood given, will amp up our drives here as well. Much love from one of your biggest fans, thinking of you.

  2. Anjana Bhatt

    Oh no…I am so so sorry David. I always rejoiced in the fact that things are fine for you. I have lost my brother recently ( in December) and I have two more friends fighting the last minute battles and my heart is really broken and now this ….to hear from you…..God I can not handle it. Sorry for not being positive for you. I have no strength. This is the last news on this earth I wanted to hear.

    You have all my prayers to a God who has his own agenda. Take care of yourself brother.

    1. Anjana Bhatt

      David, I was sad that day when I wrote my first comment. I have faith in you and I know you will deal with it the way it should be dealt. My prayers for a quick recovery. My blood is AB RH positive…so just in case you ever need it, please send an email. I have never given it earlier but by god, if you need it I am there. Lots of blessings to you. Anjana

  3. Lis marrow

    I am so sorry to hear that you and your family are going through this again. I remember meeti g you in NZ as one of the best memories of my life so far… Keep safe, keep smiling and know that we all are sending care and good thoughts to you all.

  4. Anne Horrigan-Dixon

    Hi David
    I’m sending my very best get well wishes from Australia. You are an amazing man and I’m so sorry this has happened to you again.
    You might not remember me but I came from Melbourne Australia to find out about a library of the Future for North Fitzroy in Melbourne. Our community campaigned for it for 20 years. It is A library of the Future thanks to you great advice. So we are benefiting in this sensational building which is buzzing with happy people every day. It is in a hub with other services and our large civic meeting space. We have a glorious rof too garden where people can readin the sunshine in a Mediterranean garden

    -All thanks to your guidance. Look it up- Bargoonga Nganji in North Fitzroy

    Anne Horrigan-Dixon

  5. don hamerly

    Sorry to hear but thanks for sharing, Dave. Time to muster all prayer warriors and positivity purveyors. You know your Dominican family has your back.

  6. Jane Steele

    I have learned from you to not give up. My mom was a school librarian and also a history teacher(like me) and she was my role model. she never gave up and you will also not give up David.

  7. Leona M. Chereshnoski

    I am so sorry to hear your news. However, I am glad that you have positive options and a positive attitude. It is really great that you can find some humor in your situation, (lymphomaniac) and I am sure you will be able to battle well again. In the meantime, you will have a lot of people sending good thoughts and prayers your way and remembering that Virtual Dave is still a friend to all in the Library World!! Good Luck and God Bless. Leona

  8. Kathryn Deiss

    Oh David! So sorry you will be losing some hair! Oh that lymphoma thing? You’ve got this one whipped my friend! I know it won’t be fun but you will be fine. Let me know what else you need or that I can do to help. Alas, my blood is often rejected as the white cells are too small but i’m going to try agai!
    Big hugs and you know I’m on Team David Lankes as always!

  9. Irene Reid

    Dear David,
    My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family for healing blessing and strength and courage for your new journey again cancer. I love your positive and honest outlook and approach it is a good way to fight this negative disease.
    Thank you for all you have shared re learning and libraries, you are my library/info/research guru!
    Kind regards
    Irene Reid
    South Africa

  10. George Needham

    Dave, I can’t give blood, but I can encourage everyone I know who can to do so. Good luck, my friend—I know you’ll beat this SOB!

  11. Erna Winters

    Dear David, this is terrible news. I take a deep bow to you for the strenght you show in coping with this message, and the battle that you are up against, again. I send you strength, warmth. love and friendship, for you and your family. Warm regards from Erna Winters (we met three weeks ago in Belgium with the PL2030 group)

    1. Jools Morgan-Jones

      Hell’s teeth!! You must be so hacked off with this, having beaten it before! But from years of experience of working in hospitals, I can tell you that hacked off patients get better faster – harness the energy of your rage and throw it all against those bloody awful cancer cells, beat them to the floor and stamp on their nasty little fingers!
      You’ll get through this, David, of that I have no doubt. And baldness is bearable in the hot summer months, so you’ll be at an advantage in a way :0)
      Sending you love and hugs, and lots of positive energy xxx

  12. librarianmer

    I’m so sorry to hear this news, David. I hope your treatment is quickly successful against that asshole cancer and I’m glad to hear you have a good prognosis (though it’s ridiculously wrong that you should have to go through this again). You’ve been such an inspiration to me throughout my career and to so many others.

  13. Stephen Fians

    Dave: Just saw this post—devastating news! Sending prayers for your full recovery. I was at the Syracuse University iSchool summer residency back in 2012. Your soaring oratory there continues to echo in my head & light a fire in my soul. I still have the Atlas of New Librarianship & will forever treasure its contents. I firmly believe that you will win this latest cancer fight just like you did the others—-with Lankesian grit & good humor. You got this:-)

  14. May Wohlafka

    Dear Dr. Lankes,

    My best wishes to you for a complete recovery. And I agree, health insurance should be a right!

    May Wohlafka
    Your former Syracuse University student

  15. Leni Oman

    F***ing cancer. Glad to hear the positive prognosis but sorry you and your family
    have to go through it all. Thank goodness for humor. I’m definitely telling my bro in law he’s a lymphomaniac (10+ years of another type of lymphoma). I will keep some good mojo flowing your way. Be well, my friend.

  16. Elisabeth Simon

    Dear Mr.Lankes we love you and your book so much in this country and although I am not going to spread thus natry news pleae be sure that yur fans here in Germany ar sending best wishes and hope for a good recovery Elsabeth Simon Berlin