I had intended to make this post a little sooner, but I needed some time to process a lot of the information I received at my last oncology appointment. Once I was ready to start writing again, a bad cold and some awful emotional stress got in the way. Needless to say, I have a lot of topics already lined up for future entries.
My official diagnosis is Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Stage IV is what you generally don’t want to hear. It means that the cancer has spread to another system of the body. In my case, it has spread to my bone marrow.
Despite all that, my oncologist is still optimistic about my case and believes that my prognosis is good, particularly due to my age and the fact that am still able to accomplish ordinary tasks. I also have not had any real symptoms of lymphoma at all, though I have been having night sweats the past few days, which is a common B symptom of Hodgkin’s.
Even with a good prognosis; however, this is horribly scary and everything seems to be moving too slowly again. I need to have two procedures prior to starting chemotherapy: a bone marrow biopsy and a portacath installation. The bone marrow biopsy is tomorrow morning and will establish a baseline for what my bone marrow looks like prior to chemotherapy, in case they need that information for further testing down the road. My portacath installation is December 20th. A portacath is basically a permanent IV — a button is inserted under the skin in your chest so that an IV line can easily be inserted whenever necessary. I’m grateful to have one installed, since I’m a difficult person to start IVs on, but I believe that the date will delay the start of my treatment until after the holidays.
I have seen posts by survivors in online cancer forums saying that many have had their first treatment on the same day they had their ports installed, but I’m not sure if that will be the case for me. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m not thrilled at the prospect of being chemo-fucked at Christmas dinner (and honestly chemo scares the shit out of me), but I also don’t want the cancer to spread more than it already has.
The only things I’m really sure of right now are that I’m scared shitless and my life is never going to be the same after this.