bigpittstop's Journey:

Survivor: Hodgkin Disease

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 9 years ago, Female, Age: 35, Stage II

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I couldnt believe this was happening to me. One day I'm attending a play and hosting a dignitary at my job and then 2 hours later, I have a "mass" in my neck. But, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people who kept me positive and doctors who treated me with medicine, but saw my diagnosis as a matter of prayer.

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I completely lucked out. My protocol (Adriamiacin, Bliomiacin, Velban, DTIC) was not easy, but my doctors made sure I had the right steroids and anti-nausea meds to keep me from getting super sick. I also took a Neulasta shot every other time I took treatment to keep my white count up. Every time make mine too high, but skipping it dropped it WAY too low. I would take treatment every other Thursday. By Friday after lunch, I began getting tired. On Saturday I felt like I had been hit by a bus and then Sunday was like getting over a hangover. Monday I was back to work. My "off" weekends I was able to play and do things as normal. I found comfort in my predicatable schedule. My treatments were a 4 hour drip and then I would take the Neulasta shot the next day. I also did a blood count every Friday to make sure my white counts were staying level. It was not easy. Easy is not a word that should ever be use with this process. Going in to take chemo was not bad, but never let anyone tell you its easy!

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    I didnt get my port before my first treatment. I knew the moment they began chemo in my hand that I wanted to fix that. I literally looked at my nurse and said "when you finish that go ahead and schedule my port". It really saved the day. Someone told me to get the numbing cream for it and it really did make all the difference. I would put it on and cover it up with Press n' Seal Gladwrap and then would drive the hour to treatment. Never a problem. But, I could tell when I didnt use it for other appointments. I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND getting a port or having the conversation quickly with your doctor. The recovery was minimal. I even took a treatment with it on Thursday after it was placed on Monday.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    hair

    Loss

    I did loose some hair once I started taking chemo therapy. It was part of the process and I knew it would happen. Thankfully my doctor was pretty straight forward from the beginning. I never lost ALL my hair. Probably if I had one more treatment it would have been time to shave my head. About a month after my diagnosis, my co-workers set up a "Hat and Scarf" party. It was a shower of blessings. They brought wigs, scarves, hats, earing, and gift cards. totally anticipating a need that I didnt even have to think about.

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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Birthday

    Celebration

    While going through treatment, I celebrated my 26th birthday. I was scared that I wouldnt see the day, but it was an awesome feeling

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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    For me, radiation was so much harder than chemo. Not because it hurt or was a bad experience, it just made me tired. I had to travel 1 hr to get to my treament facility. The ladies in my church set up a calendar and I didnt know who would be there every morning when I walked out to my porch, but every morning at 7:30 a car was waiting with a sweet smile, happy conversation and usualy a McDonald's sweet tea! It was a great way to get to know some sweet ladies. The process was pretty easy every day at treatment. It took longer to take my clothes off and on than the actual treatment. Because so much was exposed while I was being treated, the nurses were great. They even let my mom and sister go and and see what they were doing. I think this really helped their healing process. I will say one thing that I didnt know about was my mask fitting. Before I was able to begin treatment, I had to get "fitted". For me, this meant a mask and the markings that they would use to align me for treatment. When I was getting fitted for the mask, I knew they were getting something ready and then they wrapped it over my face. What I didnt know was that it was a plastic sheath that had holes in it. When they put it over my face I thought it was something like rubber and that I had to hold my breath. I think if someone had told me that it was just a plastic that they got warm so it was maleable and then it would harden, but that it had holes in it like mesh. I would have just felt less claustrophobic and trapped. Laying on the radiation table was my 15 seconds of alone time. I would use those moments, flat on my back, staring straight up, to pray. Close my eyes and seek the face of the Healer.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  7. 7
    over 4 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    August 7, 2008 is my cancer birthday! It was amazing the day I heard the doctor say it was over. Every year is a celebration.

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  8. 8
    over 4 years ago
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    New normal

    Oh No

    For me the hardest part of my whole process was the "your done, go back to normal". normal was not something I knew any more and I sure didnt know what this "new normal". I blogged my experience at bigpittstop.blogspot.com. It for me was the cathartic process I needed to walk through the grief of my treatment being over and now trying to discover what I was going to do with it.

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  9. 9
    over 4 years ago
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    Birthday

    Celebration

    In 2012, I celebrated my 30th birthday at Relay for Life. As event chair, I was completely distracted with midnight hit, but my team had not forgotten. They had a big celebration and it was a great reminder of why we fight at the American Cancer Society....for more birthdays!

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