Leah Sanderson

First post: Oct 29, 2017 Latest post: Apr 14, 2018
Oct. 27, 2017
Shock was and still is my response when I was told I had lymphoma that is high grade and aggressive.  Me?  I rarely drink, I do not smoke, I try to eat healthy (love that ice cream though), and  I exercise (maybe too much as some would say).  
I believe all these health issues started last year before the Christmas holidays.  I was nauseous  and threw-up twice.  I figured it was something I ate.  Over Christmas I was telling my mom and siblings I wasn't feeling the best with bad headaches and achy feelings.  They told me I was probably sick.  Well, I haven't been sick for at least 5 years and that was with a sinus infection.  So,  I decided to buy a thermometer.  Low and behold I was running a fever of 102. 
Next step was to get an appointment with my family doctor.  Of course, I had to update all my information because I had not been  there forever.  I was surprised I was still in the system.  He put me on an antibiotic and ordered blood tests.
Blood tests did not have the  best results with anemia and high liver enzymes.  
So, more tests recommended- CT scan on liver, colonoscopy and endoscopy.  I went through with the CT scan on liver, but there was just a little spot.  So, more blood tests for the liver.  Then I was diagnosed with
Hepatitis C in February.  After 2 weeks of miserable waiting, I learned it was a false positive.  
I did not think a colonoscopy or endoscopy were necessary to check out my anemia.  I wanted to try iron supplements at first.  So, that is what I did.  This worked for a while.  I really wanted to run the Boston Marathon in April - which was my worst marathon running experience, but loved the atmosphere.
After some more blood work in May, the GI specialist said things were improving and didn't  see why any additional testing was needed.  He was my best friend then.  I liked what he was telling me.

Over the summer, I could tell I wasn't up to my usual get up and go.  By August, I knew something was not quite right.  My running times were becoming so slow, I might as well have been walking.  I went from  doing 8:20 mile paces to 11 minute miles paces by the time I stopped running.  Now,  it is recommended I just walk and do yoga. On the positive note, at least I can do that.  I had more blood work and iron count was an 8 (recommended to be between 12 and 16).  So, I went through a colonoscopy that proved to have 2 precancerous polyps, but no internal bleeding.  Next step was an endoscopy of the esophagus and abdomen- no bleeding there either, just high inflammation.  Of course another test - CT scan on abdomen.  There they found a buckeye size tumor by my spleen and 8 masses through out my abdomen .  This resulted in a trip to the oncologist.  She strongly believed it was Lymphoma.  There are over 50 different types of Lymphoma, so they needed to get a biopsy.  My other symptoms I have are fevers in the morning, night sweats ( I thought these were from menopause), tiredness, headaches,  shortness of breath, swelling of ankles,  and anemia.

As my story goes on, a pattern continues with  test after test after test. For the  biopsy,  they made 3 incisions on my right side.  The surgeon wanted to know if I wanted to get my hernia repaired since she was already operating in that area.  I thought it was a good idea.  I would not recommend it.  With my ignorance I did not realize there was so much recovery time with a hernia- 3 weeks.   As an exerciser, doctors need to be specific.  For example,  light exercise to me means 3 miles of walking.  No, it is 10 min. walk- three times a day. Also, no heavy lifting means 25 pounds.  Another thing is that I had to have a driver to take me home.  I thought if worse came to worse, I could always walk home.  No, the hospital said they would have to call a taxi.  I hate being dependent on other people.  My good friend Vicki came and picked me up.  I wanted to walk when I got home, but the nurse vetoed that idea.  I was feeling good with the morphine I had in my system.  Instead, my 3 very good friends, Larissa, Vicki, and Susie, met at Panera Bread. 

Next was a scary call from the oncologist, telling me I have high-grade and aggressive lymphoma.  They can not treat it in Lima.  I selected Cleveland Clinic because I have 2 sisters in the area.  

Now I am waiting to go to my appointment on Thursday, November 2 to discuss a treatment plan.  

I am so fortunate to have so many supportive people in my life.  I am so thankful for all of you!

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