mhoefler's Journey with Hodgkin Disease

Survivor: Hodgkin Disease

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 24 years ago, Female, Age: 46, Stage IV

  1. 1
    • mhoefler
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Found a mass in my chest, unknown, some heart issues

    Oh No

    I thought it was just a pulled muscle, yet again, since I had done it before. I was grossly underweight (102 lbs). After 6 hours in the E/R thinking I was having a heart attack, the pain in my chest and back were so bad, a Dr. came in and asked me if I ever had heart issues, I said "No", he then proceeded to tell me that I had an egg size mass wrapped around the outside of my right lung and piercing he heart sack allowing fluid into the heart area. This was in October of 92, right before Halloween. This is how it all started for me.

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  2. 2
    • mhoefler
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    This was the beginning of several more surgeries, it was the biopsy to find out what the mass was and gain a sample of the tissue. Unfortunately the lymph nodes that the cancer had hit were to liquidity to gain a sample from. But the Dr. finally did and the test sample was sent from Dr. to Dr. until it ended up in LA with a specialist who diagnosed me with Hodgkins. By this time it was the beginning of November 92.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  3. 3
    • mhoefler
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    On December 7th, 92, I received a phone call from the Dr. telling me I was finally diagnosed and would need to be seen by an Oncologist found in my area. I had Hodgkins Lymphoma Disease. All I knew about this was what I had seen in the elderly in the convalescent hospitals. I was terrified. At 22 yrs old with 1.5 yr old to raise.

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  4. 4
    • mhoefler
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I did my radiation in Auburn, after some meetings at different centers. They created a block for the area they would radiate. Each daily treatment took about 10min to complete, but after wards I always felt like someone had plugged me into a machine and drained every bit of energy out of me. Eating afterwards always helped. I mostly slept the day away once it was over.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  5. 5
    • mhoefler
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I was so overwhelmed at what I had been told, throughout the month of November I began having difficulty breathing, swallowing simple things like soup, water, with out choking on it. We kept calling the Dr. and telling him and he would tell us that I should sit up better when I ate, and not lay back down so soon. Incredibly. The Dr. believed I had a slow growing mass, so I didn't meet with the Oncologist until December 15th, 92. By the time I got in to him, I was sleeping sitting up on the couch and barely able to eat anything. Upon his exam of me, we discovered the mass was rapidly growing and spreading across my chest, it was now covering my entire sternum bone and basically was suffocating me. I couldn't even lay flat on the table for his exam, due to the fact I couldn't breathe when I did. I was told I was dying, I was at stage 4 of the disease. My dad set up my treatment plan. We started with Chemo first. Twice a month, for 7months, then Radiation for 4 weeks or so.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    • mhoefler
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    I had more then just fatigue, I lost my sex drive, which my young husband didn't understand, my ability to be alone with my little boy, because of the fatigue. Loss of appetite, but the prednisone started to help with that.

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  7. 7
    • mhoefler
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    I was placed in Remission status at the end of the year of 93. But being so skinny at 5'3, still was concerning. My body ached alot and I didn't like being in public because of the hair loss. I looked like a 14yr old boy. On the other hand, I had just survived the most difficult trial of my life. I was proud of myself for fighting and not giving up, and anxious to be able to move forward from this journey into the next.

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