Call it intuition, but at the beginning of 2016 I knew something wasn't right in my body.
Outside of a swollen lymph node in my right clavicle, I felt a draw toward the middle of my torso and there was something that felt...out of sorts.
I got health insurance in May of 2016, made my first appointment for a full blood screening on the 1st of June and received a positive diagnosis for HCV (Hepatitis C) on the 8th of June. After testing positive for HCV you have a waiting period of six months before you can be treated, because for some the body processes the virus naturally and no treatment is needed. After six month I saw my HCV doctor and she was concerned about the lymph node, so recommended a FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration), which took place on the 12th of December. On the 21st of December I received a call from my HCV doctor informing me that the FNA results came back positive for malignant cells. At this point they felt it was somewhere in the Lymphoma/Lymphocyte Leukemia range, but only more tests would get us a better idea of what we were dealing with.
There are case studies that link HCV with Lymphoma, but in addition to that, my family has a history of it. My aunt died at the age of 4 from Leukemia in the early 1960's. On the plus side, there are cases where treating the HCV puts the Lymphoma into remission by curing the HCV. That's kind of what I'm hoping for here.
My first appointment with my oncologist was the 17th of January 2017. Here is where they told me they felt I had a "Low Grade Lymphoma" and it was explained to me that 1/3 of people diagnosed with this needed treatment immediately, 1/3 need to be monitored with treatment later, and 1/3 just required being monitored with no treatment necessary. This seemed like the best possibly outcome we could have with cancer. Again, only more tests would tell though. So they scheduled a surgery to remove my swollen lymph node on the 26th of January and run tests on that. I received my results and official diagnosis of Mantle Cell Lymphoma on the 14th of February. (Happy Valentine's Day!)
I have a bone marrow biopsy, and CT scan in my very near future. I just started my two months of Harvoni (HCV medication), so let's all just pray that will throw the MCL into remission and I can get back to being healthy again :-)
P.S. to family and friends: Please pardon the potty mouth, I'm dealing with a disease. I'll try to keep it to a minimum :-)