Saturday, August 22, 2009

Get up, get up...

The bone marrow test is COMPLETE and what a relief that is. To be honest, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Every time I told someone I was getting a bone marrow test, I kind of had the fearful look in my eyes and tone in my voice and their reaction was like "ohhh I've heard that really hurts." It was definitely not like going for a Swedish massage, but it really wasn't that bad. Just a lot of pressure and a sharp pain here and there. Luckily, had my parents right by my side. My doctor was trying to tell me jokes the entire time and I was laughing on the table. He did mention it was a first to see someone laughing on the table while getting a bone marrow test done. I'd like to give a thank you to that special pill I was given prior to the procedure! For those that know me well, know I love going to the gym...and I haven't seen the gym for 4 weeks now and won't be for the next few months. I have to be careful of not getting an infection during treatment. But that won't stop my workouts, I am probably going to get a treadmill and get outdoors to go on walks more. Thankfully, the good ol' Las Vegas valley will soon be going from 200 degrees to 100 degrees so I'll be able to get outside more. And lucky for me today, some pretty grey clouds came in and are hiding the sun. With that said, I'm going to get ready to go on a walk now!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just a little update...

My PET and CT scan results came back appears that the little mean cancer cells have all localized to one area, so that's a good thing. Can I please just tell you how incredibly painful the CT with contrast was on Tuesday? Wow...probably the worst thing so far. It felt like someone lit water on fire and then ran it through my veins at approximately 200mph. It was so intense. And on top of that, I look like I got beat up. I have bruises up and down my arms for where the nurses have all not been able to put IV's in. Oh and did I mention, I have a Frankenstein scar on my neck....still waiting for that to heal. I feel super hot right now. The test today was the EKG and that was a piece of cake, I wish every test was like that. Tomorrow is the bone marrow test. Luckily, I have been prescribed some medication to take to help alleviate the pain. We'll see how that goes! I did come home today to nice surprises in the mail - my wonderful sister and brother-in-law sent me some LIVE STRONG bracelets and I got one of the most meaningful cards from a friend....of course, I got a little teary eyed from the combined items, but it made me smile. I am starting to feel my strong surrounding support system - whether it be my coworkers, my family, my friends, my old family at WESTAR....I truly feel blessed to have all these people in my life continue to feed me encouraging words and help me in any way they possibly can. I just need to keep reminding myself I AM going to get through this battle. It might get ugly, but I'm going to get through it and live until I'm 90. Yep, 90. I need to clear any negative thoughts and focus. I'm getting there...slowly, but surely. Keep on praying friends...much love.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And the testing continues...

Today I will be getting a PET scan, kind of a funny name, I know. I have to get another IV so they can inject some contrast into my body for this test. Did I mention I HATE IV's? I have bruises up my right arm from Friday night's surgery because the nurse couldn't find a "good vein" (gross). So, I am not looking forward to this test today at all. On Thursday, I will be getting an EKG. And then proceeding these two tests will be a bone marrow test and the installation of a port inside my chest. They are trying to finish all of these so I can start chemotherapy as quickly as possible. They are thinking they may start chemotherapy next week, but I'm not too sure of that because that would mean all these other tests would have to be accomplished by the end of this week. I am going to say by September 4th, I will have my first treatment. I have had a lot of anxiety the past two days about everything. All this testing makes everything so "real" and I still cannot believe I am going through this. I am just waiting for the doctors to call me and tell me they misdiagnosed me so I can wake up from this nasty nightmare.

Monday, August 17, 2009

How am I feeling...oh, that is the question

The question everyone loves to ask me, "how are you feeling" - the answer to that question is great. Remember, I have NO physical symptoms whatsoever. If I wanted to, I could go outside and run a half marathon. It is my mental state that is currently being affected. July 31st, feeling fine, life is good and by August 4th, I could have cancer? I have to go through chemotherapy? I am going to lose my hair? Can I continue on with my education or do I have to take a leave of absence? Am I going to be able to be fertile to have children after chemotherapy? Are people going to look at me differently, such as my friends and family? Are people going to "feel sorry" for me? These are all questions running through my mind ALL day long ever since there was speculation I had Hodgkin's Disease. For many of you that ask me "how are you feeling" - I hope that can answer it. It is a lot to absorb and it is difficult for not only me to absorb this, but for my family and friends to and I realize this. NOBODY ever thinks this is going to happen to them or someone they are close to. EVERYBODY takes their health for granted on a daily basis and lives their life carefree and normally (which you should, don't get me wrong). But, take a step back every now and then and thank God (or whomever you'd like to thank) for your good health. Because trust me, without good health, there is not much you can do. Of course, I am scared to go through this journey because of the fears I stated above. My life is going to change drastically for the next 4-6 months, which means you probably won't be running into me at Town Square having a shot of goldschlagger anytime soon. But I am going to do my best to stay positive and look for the light at the end of the tunnel, because that's all I have right now. I am so lucky to have amazing friends and family to support me through this. Because I will make it through it...and I will have a shot of goldschlagger at the end of the tunnel. But do remember friends and family, this is not going to be easy for me one bit. Continue to be patient with me...if I shut you out, it's not because I don't love you more than anything, it's because I am scared to let you in at this time. But don't worry, I will.

The diagnosis

As many of you know or do not know, I have been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma which is also known as Hodgkin's Disease. Hodgkin's is a form of cancer and affects the lymph nodes. It is stated to be 99% curable, which means that after I go into remission, there is a 1% chance I will be affected again. This disease typically affects young adults aged 15-35. So, the big question at hand is how did I find out I had this? On August 1st, I was having dinner with some of my friends and noticed a "lump" above my collarbone. I have not been feeling sick lately and have not felt any decrease of my energy levels, so I knew something was not right. The following Monday I went to see an oncologist who prescribed me Amoxicillin, as she stated it was probably just an infection and the prescription should take it away. I saw a general practitioner who took X-rays, but also stated "don't worry about it, it's probably just an infection." It was not until I was sent for a CT scan that they noticed abnormalities in my lymph nodes. I was then sent to a general surgeon. The general surgeon ordered a fine needle biopsy, which took place on Friday, August 7th. The fine needle biopsy results came in as inconclusive, which means there was not enough evidence in the biopsy to conclude any results. I was then requested to get a minor surgery where they would be removing my entire lymph node. This surgery took place on Friday, August 14th. It was after this surgery that it was concluded I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It is predicted I am in Stage 2a of this disease. This means I have 2 inflamed lymph nodes on one side of the diaphragm and I am asymptomatic.