Friday, March 18, 2016

Survivor of Hodgkin Disease Story

Survivor of Hodgkin Disease Story
Shortly after my 40th birthday, I took a sip of Pinot Grigio and immediately felt a stabbing pain in my neck and shoulders. I was at a cocktail with colleagues and I did not make a big deal of it, so I continued chatting. But the pain lasted several hours. At first I was not too worried, I recently had a massage and I thought that the therapist must have pushed too hard on my neck and around my collarbone. But over the next few weeks, he kept going. If I had a glass of wine at a party or a beer at a game Indian whenever the throbbing pain would kick in and take a few hours. Nothing I DID ice, heat, ibuprofen-seemed to help.

When I finally understood the connection between alcohol and the pain in my neck and collarbone, I do not know what to make of him. I'm not one of those people who runs to the doctor every time she has a headache, but it was too weird. So I googled "pain in the lymph nodes after drinking alcohol" (I had mono swollen glands and as a kid, so I knew there was lymph nodes in both areas which were badly).

I quickly found a thread on the site Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where people spoke of "the pain alcohol weird." They had Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system. The idea that my strange symptom might have some something to do with the cancer seemed crazy! Besides, at the time, I did research, I did not have any of the classic symptoms of Hodgkin's disease, such as a lump in the neck, armpit or the groin, fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss or itching. I was pretty exhausted, but I blame it on all the travel I was doing for work and pushed to the back of my mind.

A few weeks later, I was in the shower when I felt a bump coming out of my left collarbone. It was really hard and the size of one of those bouncy balls kids get supermarket vending machines. It does not hurt, but it was a symptom, I could not ignore and I had a sinking feeling that meant Hodgkin.

Answers, please!
I tried not to panic. I immediately went to my primary care doctor and calmly told him about my symptoms and what I had read online. He ordered an X-ray and a blood test, but both came back inconclusive. Because Hodgkin's disease is not common (only about 8,000 people are diagnosed with it in the United States each year), he said I probably had a bacterial infection and put me on antibiotics. I really, really want to believe.

I started the medication and of course, I was not supposed to drink any of it, so I did not feel any pain in the neck. But a week later, the bottle was empty and the lump was still there. Before I could go back to my doctor, I happened to tell my brother and sister-in-law what was happening. In one of those strange twists of fate, my brother-in-law regularly see a haematologist for blood without Transgender Hodgkin report is considered a blood disease because it comes from a type of white blood cell. She called her doctor and he agreed to see me the next day. As I sat in the office of Dr. Alan Lichtin anxiously waiting for answers, he told me that feel pain while drinking alcohol is actually a symptom of Hodgkin's disease, a rare but pretty. In his 25 years of practicing medicine, he had only seen another patient who had experienced the same thing. He said he was not 100% sure that I had cancer, but he was taking no chances: He ordered a surgical biopsy for later this week. Unfortunately, when I got the results, my suspicions were confirmed. I had stage IIB nodular sclerosis Hodgkin's disease, I was relieved to know, is considered an early diagnosis.

A wealth of support
I am still puzzled that I did not panic and began to sob in the doctor's office, but I was determined to stay strong for me and especially for my parents, who were with me when I heard. My older brother had undergone surgery the previous year to remove a malignant tumor from his kidney. (He is healthy now, but his illness was devastating for my parents, who are in their 70s) And suddenly, another of their children faced with cancer. All I could do was turn Dr. Lichtin and ask, "What do we do now?"

Surgery was not an option. With a blood cancer such as Hodgkin's disease, it is not a malignant tumor to remove. The lump in my neck was a lymph node that was swollen because of the way the disease was affecting my whole body. To fight against cancer, I needed to start chemo right away.

I went to the Cleveland Clinic for sessions of chemo-six hours, once every two weeks for 16 grueling weeks. My mom and dad went with me to every appointment and every time I needed a shot of inspiration from my father would simply say, "Normandy." I grew up watching films of World War II with him, and during the time I was in the hospital, often talked about the heroic soldiers were and how they must have woken up every day wondering if it would be their last. Think of them helped me keep my own battle in perspective.

While I was going through treatment, my parents took care of my dog ​​and spent the night with me after each chemo session. Friends brought dinners, walking my dog ​​and shoveled my driveway. My two brothers kept me laughing, even when laughter seemed impossible. My boss and other colleagues, even kept me company during chemo several times. I know it sounds cliche, but really getting sick renewed my faith in the goodness and generosity of others.

I have been in remission for over a year now. I'm finally starting to feel like my old self and energetic I am able to be active again and do things like ice skating. The first time I had a sip of alcohol, I was on tenterhooks, waiting to feel that pinch pain. But fortunately I havent and I hope I never will. Since I fought against cancer, many of my colleagues, friends and family to talk me about their aches and pains. I literally had people come to me and say: "Feel my neck" I humor them and usually do, but I remind them that if they are concerned about cancer or any other condition, they must consult their doctor. Many people brush them because the strange symptoms, especially they are afraid of being perceived as a hypochondriac or crazy. Do not be. listening to your instincts can save your life. I know it saved mine.

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