kps0918's Journey with Hodgkin Disease

Survivor: Hodgkin Disease

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 13 years ago, Female, Age: 38, Stage II

  1. 1
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was a seemingly very healthy 24-year-old when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I had been engaged to the love of my life for only 6 weeks when I received the shocking news that I had cancer. To say it rocked the world's of my family and friends and soon-to-be husband is an extreme understatement! I found a lump near my collar bone at the beginning of January, called the doctor after a week of no change in size. Underwent a biopsy the following week and was diagnosed on January 23, 2004. My first round of chemo was February 12th. Funny how I remember the exact dates....I guess cancer will do that to you. :)

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  2. 2
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    I was not expecting to be so sore for nearly a month after the surgery. The port is such an unnatural thing to have wedged b/w your muscles, that my body just took awhile to get use to the foreign object. It was also on my right side, so daily routine (brushing teeth, washing hair) was painful the first few weeks. After the initial recovery time, it had minimal impact in my daily life. I just had to be careful not to bump into anything or cause anything to directly touch the area b/c my skin was sensitive in that location.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    The actual administering of the chemo was easy to do, but the side effects were tough. I had 8 rounds of four types of drugs (ABVD). I received chemo every other week over the course of four months.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Nausea medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Zofran was my new best friend. :) I took a 3-day pill, Emend, which was an anti-nause pill on the day of treatment. Zofran was what I took as needed. Definitely took the edge of the nause. Only downside is that it can make you constipated.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  5. 5
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Medicine for low white blood cell count

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Oh the dreaded Neulast shot....I did not have to receive this after every treatment, but did get it 5-6 times. In my opinion, this was worse than chemo. I would get on Friday's and really only suffered with it on Saturday's which is a perk I guess. My best description was like you had the flu (super achy bones/joints) and you just ran a marathon (really tired). My body just ached so badly with this injection b/c our bone marrow is over-stimulated to boost your blood cell count. In recent years I have other friends going through this battle and their doctors are now "prescribing" to take Claritin (no other brand and no generics) on the day of the shot and the next few days. Something in the Claritin is suppose to take the edge of the bone pain...worth a shot if you have to have it!

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  6. 6
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I underwent 3 1/2 weeks of daily radiation treatments. The actual procedure took less than 10 minutes. My only side effect was that it made me tired, but it did not make me feel bad. My skin had a "sunburn" look to the areas treated. In my experience it was a walk in the park compared to chemo.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  7. 7
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemo brain

    Side Effects

    :) At least you can blame your lack of memory on something! After being blessed with two little girls--I would say this equals "pregnancy brain". I just had a terrible short term memory during this time.

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  8. 8
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Constipation

    Side Effects

    Oh the joys---I usually only had problems when I took Zofran or other anti-nausea meds.

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  9. 9
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    This was one of the tougher ones for me. I was in such good health before getting diagnosed that I hated how tired I was all the time. Walking to the mailbox or up a flight of stairs took everything out of me.

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  10. 10
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    The toughest side effect for me...I was in my mid-twenties and planning my wedding and I did not want to think about having no hair. I would like to say I got use to having a bald head, but it just reminded me that I was a very sick young woman when I saw myself in the mirror. I was surprised that your scalp gets very tender before your hair starts falling out. I lasted about five weeks before I gave in and shaved it myself. It started to grow back about 3 weeks after finishing chemo. Grew back thicker and curlier! :)

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  11. 11
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Low white blood cell counts (neutropenia)

    Side Effects

    My white counts dropped several times during chemotherapy. I had to postpone treatment 2-3 times to get my counts back up.

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  12. 12
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Nausea/Vomiting

    Side Effects

    My worst days were always day 3-4. I felt ok the day of chemo---just tired from sitting and getting IV"s for 5 hours. The next day was usually ok, but that third day knocked me on my tush. Very nauseus, but by the grace of God and wonderful meds I never did throw up.

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  13. 13
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Taste change/loss

    Side Effects

    Unfortunately... :( For me personally, toothpaste and sodas tasted the worst! I couldn't handle meat very well during that time either. Most sweet stuff still kept its flavor which worked fine for me. :)

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  14. 14
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Weight loss

    Side Effects

    I dropped 10-15 lbs very quickly at the beginning, but held at the same weight after that.

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  15. 15
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    July 31, 2004 was my last radiation treatment and I was officially in remission! :) Praise God!!!

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  16. 16
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Married!!

    Celebration

    A month and a half after I finished treatment I married the love of my life and we are about to celebrate our 8th anniversary. :)

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  17. 17
    • kps0918
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Birth

    Celebration

    After being unsure of whether or not chemotherapy/radiation would affect my fertiliy, we have been blessed with two beautiful little girls. :)

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