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Monday, August 3, 2009

Yes, we have the results....it's Hodgkin's

July 29, 2009....I heard those words and at first I didn't cry. I'm not sure why, for some crazy reason I expected it, I imagined hearing it so many times, but it's never real until your doctor says it to you. Yet, still I wondered, how did this happen to me?? I felt a large swollen lymph node above my collarbone towards the end of May. I had recently been sick with a cold and I knew that your lymph nodes can swell when you're sick, but I still thought it was odd, so I did what you're supposed to do when you don't know something...I google'd it (my first of many googles unfortunately) and I found that swollen lymph nodes could be caused by a multitude of things: strep throat, measles, ear infections, Tuberculosis, Lupus, Leukemia, Lymphoma.

Wait, Wait, Wait, Leukemia and Lymphoma??? That's Cancer (yes with a capital C)!! And being the hypochondriac I am, I automatically assumed I had it. Then I told myself I was crazy, I'm healthy, I try to eat right, yes I probably have the occasional cocktail but I work out and I get a lot of sleep...I'm literally in the best shape of my life right now so I simply can't have Cancer. Yet when I continued to scour the Internet for more info on swollen lymph nodes, I saw that it was often one of the first signs of Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Good news...this type of cancer has 90-95% survival rate, bad news, uh its Cancer. So I immediately was freaked out.

I made an appt with a doctor and was told that I needed to have a lymph node biopsy to determine the cause of the swelling. While I waited for the results of the biopsy, I felt a range of emotions. I had moments when I was convinced I had cancer and other moments when I chanted that I was fine. After all I didn't have the other Lymphoma symptoms...fevers, appetite loss (I definitely had a cheeseburger and fries after my surgery), severe weight loss (uh no, see: cheeseburger and fries), and itching. I did however have a few night sweats and that was a cause for concern.

So when I got the actual diagnosis from my doctor, it wasn't completely shocking but it was certainly devastating. And one of the first things I thought of was, "I don't want to lose my hair." I'm not ashamed...I like to look good and I spend time each day "putting on my face" and doing my hair. I joke that I'm vain, but when it comes down to it, the idea of being bald AND without eyebrows AND without eyelashes really freaked me out...as it would most women. My appearance and my style is very much a part of me, sounds a bit shallow but I truly believe if you look good, you feel good so I try to put my best foot forward each day. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this whole thing, but I've determined one thing: I have to stay positive and I have to stay me, and that means beating cancer, while of course staying fabulous:)

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