Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chemo #1

I had my first chemo yesterday, it was a long day.  Had to be there by 9:15 to meet with my patient financial representative then met with Dr. O'Dea before starting my chemo infusion.

Dr. O'Dea has officially staged me as Stage II A Hodgkins Lymphoma.  This means the mass is in 2 area, my neck and then a spot in my chest by my mediastinum.  A is the subcategory meaning I've no other symptoms so it's much more favorable prognosis than B. 

I had to watch a pre-treatment video, then they pre-medicated me with anti-nausea meds and some stuff to help me relax.  Then came the Bleomycin trial to make sure I didn't have a reaction.  Then we started the actual medication.  I slept a little, watched a little tv, JR and my sister-in-law brought me lunch and I was able to eat.  Fininished the treatment up and came on home.  I really feel good....a little queasy this morning but not bad.

They do expect me to lose my hair within a couple weeks so we picked out a wig and got some CUTE hats!  Not sure what I'll do when the time comes but at least I've got some options to fall back on.

Once again thank you for all the thoughts and prayers and the numerous offers to help.  We're so blessed to have such an awesome group of friends and family and tight knit community to come together at times like this.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Treatment plan

This last week has been a whirlwind!!  I had my port placed Friday, did well with that.  I'm a little tender but otherwise good.  Then spent the weekend moving friends, bittersweet.  I had the opportunity to meet a new who had Hodgkin's lymphoma.  He shared parts of his experience with me and brought me a prayer blanket.  This blanket was made by ladies at his church and prayed over while they made it, then blessed at Sunday mass.  I was optimistic before but this put my situation in a whole new light....I'm ready to face this monster head on and get on with my life.

Met with the oncologist today.  PET scan scheduled for tomorrow.  PFT (lung function test) and MUGA scan (for heart function) for Thursday.  Then my first chemo treatment on Monday. I'll be receiving ABVD chemo, which is the most typical kind of chemo.  Each letter stands for a different medication in the regimen.  I'll do a treatment then have a week off then do another treatment but I'll have lab work done weekly to monitor my blood levels. So after my 2 cycles of chemo (each cycle includes 2 treatments) we'll redo the PET scan and reassess if I'm done or if I'll have to continue with some sort of treatment.   Dr thinks I'll only have to do 2 cycles of treatments (which is only 4 times!!) so I'm hoping by the end of summer I'll be done with this nightmare. 

Thank you all for the prayers and support, it means the world to us.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The C-word

I honestly don't know where to start....yesterday, June 8th, 2011 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.  I have so many emotions rolling through my mind. 

Let me back up and give you a little bit of history.....I married the love of my life, my best friend on March 12th.  3 weeks later we departed with 4 friends for our honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean.  After 7 wild days on the ship away from our kids I was anxious to be home.  Upon returning to work a co-worker noticed a large bump on my neck.  With no other symptoms present I went about my business and figured it would disappear.  After several days it was still there, still very tender.  I cornered a doctor at work, he prescribed me 10 days of an antibiotic for what he assumed was an infected lymph node.  Fast-forward 12 days, no I went to see a different doctor since mine didn't have an appointment available.  Lab work and sonogram completed which were both normal for the most part, nothing too suspicious.  All the while friends and I were joking that I caught some "bug" while on vacation and had some funky virus or infection.  One week later after sonogram results were in we did a CT scan of my neck which then led to a CT scan of my chest (after some other spots were noted).  A surgeon consult led to an appointment to have a biopsy done. I had a fine needle aspiration biopsy done, which wasn't too awful and a core biopsy, which was pretty uncomfortable done.  One week later get a samples had been sent to Mayo.  This initially caused alarms to go off but the nurse assured me that they routinely send stuff off to mayo and kansas city.  The doctor performing the biopsy had been optimistic that it looked infectious so he gave me hope it was just an abscess. 

Which leads to my phone call yesterday afternoon from the surgeon.  You know it's never a good thing when the nurse asks you to hold while she puts the doctor on the phone.  He said the words....and proceeded to talk to me about treatments, plans, etc.  I tried to listen and think I absorbed most of it but I also know I put a wall up.  Denial is the first defense mechanism right??

I have a port a cath inserted tomorrow, see the oncologist on Monday and then have a PET scan on Tuesday to see what stage and areas we're dealing with.'s all tossed at me at once.  And although this is the most curable kind of cancer and the survival rates are very high, I'm terrified.  I'm lucky, it could be much worse.  I'm trying to be strong, I have to be. 

I'm optimistic.  I'm young, healthy and have an amazing group of friends and family to support me.  I've got a loving husband who will be by my side the entire time and beautiful children to give me hope and make me smile.  When I put them to bed last night I struggled, I had an entirely different outlook than I normally do.

I saw this verse this morning and I'm thinking it may be my new motto..."Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."- spoken by Jesus in Matthew 6:34