liz@25's Journey with Hodgkin Disease

Survivor: Hodgkin Disease

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 5 years ago, Female, Age: 30, Stage III

  1. 1
    • liz@25
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Days before my 25th birthday, I had my first appointment with my oncologist. Within a week of meeting my oncologist for the first time, I received my first treatment of chemo.

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  2. 2
    • liz@25
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I remembered in the beginning of treatment, I thought chemo was going to be a piece of cake. I was receiving a treatment once every 2 weeks, so I had a good amount of time to recover before the next treatment. I really didn't feel much of a difference, until my hair started thinning out. Then I shaved it off, and it wasn't a joy, but it was an experience I prepared myself for, and I just did it. Well I got through half of my treatment (I had a total of 6 rounds/12 treatments-each round consists of 2 treatments) before every thing became hard. It wasn't necessary the treatment itself,but just knowing chemo was about to make me feel horrible again. I cherished my 2 weeks off, but knowing I would have to go through the recovery process again within a few days made me truly depressed about the entire process. I likened it to getting sick, and knowing you'll be feeling sick again in a few days time. That was truly the hardest part for me to grasp.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    • liz@25
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Cancer is shrinking

    Celebration

    After completing 6 months of chemotherapy, I had a pet-scan to access my current stage of disease post-chemo. I received good results, the cancer had shrunk, but it was not completely gone, which was a bit disappointing to hear. We moved forward to radiation therapy, in the hopes that this treatment would completely vanquish all cancer.

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  4. 4
    • liz@25
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I had 1 month of radiation to complete to finish up my treatment for Hodgkin's. Although overall, the time table for this radiation would be completed fairly quickly, it took a lot more energy and was painful in a very short time period. I would go to the radiation center every day except for Saturdays and Sundays, and be given radiation for a period of less than 5-10mins. The first 2/3 of the treatment went fairly well. The last third became very painful. My chest was receiving the bulk of the radiation so my esophagus was taking the burnt of the radiation, which became greatly aggravated and from my guess, burnt my esophagus to the point where swallowing my saliva became unbearable. For an entire week, until my medical team was able to figure out a pain management plan, I survived on very little water, just a small bottle of ensure and essentially no solid foods. Additionally, I was still making the trek to my daily radiation appointment. My life at that point consisted of dragging myself to radiation treatments and then returning home and being horizontal for the rest of the day. Luckily, within the week's end, I was on morphine and crushed vicodin mixed with ice cream to control/manage the pain and slowly began to recover and putting some sustenance into my body. I also began receiving infusion hydration 3 days/week to compensate for my dehydration from the previous week.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  5. 5
    • liz@25
    • Experience with Hodgkin Disease
    over 4 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    Post-radiation treatment meant waiting 12 weeks for my next pet-scan because any pet-scan before the 12 week post-radiation mark would show unusual activity related to residual radiation doing its' job rather than true cancer activity. In the mean time, I slowly resumed daily activities, took some trips around the U.S., and began re-gaining my energy back. It was a 3-month reprieve from all things hospital. Eventually, the day came when I would find out if chemo+radiation had finally eliminated all my cancer. It was nerve-wrecking to wait, but what calmed my mind was knowing that no matter what I did, I couldn't change what would or wouldn't appear on my scans. Luckily, I received some very good news from my oncologist that it appeared radiation had finally finished the job, and I appeared to be cancer-free. We never used the term "remission," but I left knowing that the pain and side effects I endured had all been worth it. I had another 6 month reprieve until my next pet-scan.

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