My story originally started in 2008 when I found out that I had Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 3b. I went through chemotherapy the support of my family and friends. I also had a wonderful Medical team. I am proud to say that today I am a four year Survivor!!!
This year has been one of my dreams coming true. I married my best friend and soul mate on May 26,2013. It was more than a dream come true. I have my final scans this summer. That should take us to Sept. 19, 2013 five years in Remission. I still deal with pain and nerve damage. Each day I am glad to be alive! :)
I first noticed something was not right before Christmas 2007. I was feeling very tired and achy and I noticed a swollen lympnode on my neck. I was not sleeping, and related everything to stress. My neck was sore and tight and I thought it was the way I was sitting at my desk. I went and saw Dr Asija and was treated for a sinus infection. The lymphnode was probably swollen because of the infection. If the lymphnode did not go down I was to get back to the Dr and we would check further. It did go away for a while, then another week passed and I noticed another lympnode pop up. It ws not long after that the severe stomach pains started and the acid reflux was getting worse. I was trying to sleep almost sitting up, waking up ringing wet. Was it stress??
February 1, I went to urgent care after work as the stomach pains were getting worse, thought maybe something was going on with my gall bladder. The Dr Jensen decided to do some bloodwork, the results were that my white blood count was at 14,000. High white blood count is a sign of infection. The next day another blood count was done and they were still very elavated so I was sent to the Emergency room. They started an IV and gave me morphine for the pain.
Mom and my best friend Kristina were with me. I wanted some Carmex as my lips felt dry after the shot. Well I began putting it on my chin and we all had a laugh.
Dr Augustine first did a ultra sound to check the gall bladder and every thing looked good. She said normally they wouldn't do a second test but they needed to figure out what was going on. She ordered scan, I had to drink some contrasting fluid, very interesting sensation. Just like feeling warm all over. The result of that test was a mass on my liver, which the initial consult doctor thought I should maybe have another scan in six months to check it. She also suggested that I follow up with my Primary Care Dr Asija.
From that day I was on a roller coaster of test; from an Endoscopy with Dr Chan who then ordered the chest CT scan which showed several masses. Dr Chan advised that I had Lymphoma and that I would need to see Dr Smith for biopsy - that was Feb 13th and a follow-up appointment with Dr Pelska on Feb 18th.
In the process of all the testing and everything Mom and Dad had a new bed delivered as I was unable to lay down to sleep and I was also not sleeping very much. The pain felt like I was in a vice grips tightening around my chest and back. My new bed has many adjustments, the head goes up, the feet go up and there is massage. So with the help of pain medication I started to get sleep.
We met with Dr Pelska on Feburary 18th, the biospy was re-active no cancer, but that was not what the Scans and signs were showing. She ordered a PET scan, which could not be done until February 29th. The results came back positive there were masses both above and below the diaphragm which classified this as Stage 3 Lymphoma. But a biopsy was required in order to determine what kind. Thought the possibly a biospy of one of the masses in my chest, I was sent to Dr Prewitt. After he looked at everything he decided to go back into the neck and remove the remaider of the first lympnode and take the second lymphnode behind it.
March 12 I received a phone call that I had Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 3 B and would need a bone marrow biopsy to determine if it was stage 4. It was at this time that the wedding was post-poned as I knew I had a different journey in store for the next couple of months.
The next days were a blurr, between MUGA scan, lung function testing just to make sure I was able to take chemo. March 17th Dr Prewitt installed my medi-port on the left side of my chect. The surgery was painful, but then I was still healing from the 2 biopsy's. They were able to use my new port for my first chemo on March 18th. Six days after my diagnosis. The first was a long one as they needed to give me the first drug and wait to see if I had a reaction. Mom and Dad were with me, Joe had gotton me an IPOD which was a great diversion. Through this whole process it was amazing how the Advanced Health Care Dr network was a team, and each one had all the information and pushed to get things expedited so that treatment could get started.
My first chemo was an experience, by that evening my stomach felt raw, my feet were burning. They day after chemo I went for a Neulasta injection which will help to keep my white count up during chemo. I did not realize how much this injection was going to burn.
My schedule was 12 chemo's every other week. We scheduled them on Monday's as that was mom's off day. Between all of the surgery's, pain medication I was not driving.
When I was diagnosed with cancer I had a job I loved but had not been employeed long enough to qualify for FMLA. I was engaged to be married in June, and thought I had my life planned out. . .but now I know that I can get up and be thankful I am here. All I can plan for today and I leave the rest to God's plan.