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10/3/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Hi Family and Friends,
It's been a crummy summer for me. I love summer, but haven't been able to do a lot of the things I like to do, because I wasn't feeling well. In late June, I started to have symptoms that were similar to Lyme's disease; including muscle and nerve pain in my upper chest and shortness of breath. I went to see my PCP (Primary Care Physician) and after full blood tests and an exam, he thought Lyme's disease was a possibility. At that time, we didn't even consider something more serious like cancer. The treatment for Lyme's is antibiotics and a steroid. I felt better while receiving treatment, but as soon as the treatments ended the symptoms returned. He then referred me to a Rheumatologist. At that appointment (09/06), the doctor noticed swelling in some of my lymph nodes, and he recommended a CT scan to get more info. I was working Friday (09/08) and was able to get in at my hospital (North Memorial) where I work, for a CT scan before my night shift in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) started. Later that night, I was able to access my chart and see the results.
When I got home following my shift on Saturday morning (09/09), I told Jim, we have to talk... The CT Scan described an "extensive confluent soft tissue" mass (read tumor), in my upper chest, along my sternum. The conclusion was Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes.
That next Monday (09/11), we met with my PCP to go over the results, order a needle biopsy, echocardiogram, and schedule a appointment with an Oncologist. With help from fellow employees at North Memorial, I was able to get in right away (09/13) and get my biopsy done. When the pathology results were ready, my PCP called me and said I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma; officially defined: Nodular sclerosis Hodgkin's lymphoma of intrathoracic lymph nodes.
Our next appointment was Tuesday (09/19) with an Oncologist from the Hubert Humphrey Cancer Center. Turns out, she is great. She specializes in Hematology / Oncology and has a great team of NP's and RN's working alongside her. She thought my cancer was at least stage 2, and ordered a PET scan to confirm the diagnosis. She also scheduled the first chemo infusion for the next week. I was able to get my PET scan completed the following morning (09/20) and have my port put in, later that day.
The plan for treatment is to receive Chemo (ABVD), starting 09/26 and get infusions every 14 days for 6 months, followed by radiation.
All along this short, but intense journey so far, we have seen God's hand and presence, as He has opened doors to get procedures and test done very quickly and provide the right people for my care and support; both emotional and physical.
That the Chemo will be very effective in killing cancer cells.
That I would have very little side effects from the Chemo such as nausea, or severe fatigue.
That I won't develop infections or other illnesses, etc., since my white blood cell count will probably drop to -0-, and the Chemo has to continue.
That God would give Jim (and I), peace and strength, as we travel through this journey together.