September 16, 2009

finally, a diagnosis!

today is the day i officially was handed the cancer card...hodgkin's lymphoma (nodular sclerosing, stage 1a, bulky mediastinal, etc...)

for those of you who haven't heard my story, here it is...

in july, i went for an annual physical...nothing too extraordinary except my iron levels weren't going up after taking supplements for several months, and i had a respiratory infection that had lingered since late spring. i've always had a fear of telling doctors what's wrong, but, realizing i was in the presence of the most amazing doctor i've ever encountered (who will always have my unending appreciation), i asked when i could tell her if i thought something was weird. i explained all my odd symptoms, and she explained what she thought was concerning (related to chest symptoms), and told me we could go various of which was a chest xray, which i knew, intuitively, was what i needed. she warned me that sometimes the problems with chest xrays is they show something that cause concern, and indicate more tests, when it turns out nothing is wrong. well, several scans later, it was confirmed that there was a cause for concern. i have a large chest mass that's pushing my right lung over (just making a cozy little place for itself). i had an inconclusive needle biopsy mid-august, and had to be thoroughly convinced by my doctor to have surgery to get a diagnosis (you all know how stubborn i am, it was quite a fight). surgery was last friday, and diagnosis was today, finally.

i have a relatively rare (although not entirely uncommon in young adults) form of cancer called hodgkin's lymphoma, and to make it even more unusual, my disease is totally localized in my chest (it's usually in the neck, too). the exciting news is that it's one of the most treatable cancers (in fact, they use the word 'cure' quite frequently) and my oncologist says i have above a ninety percent chance of being cured with first line treatment.

onward to treatment! the plan...six cycles of chemotherapy from next friday through february (one cycle = two treatments = one month). re-scan after three cycles to look for cancer activity. after that scan, we'll determine the final end of chemotherapy and the addition of radiation. i'll continue to update on my treatment as it progresses.

"life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are".

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