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    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Chemotherapy): I had 6 months of chemo going in every two weeks. I didn't have a port, but I would if I had to do it again. My veins are still terrible. Toward the end of treatment, it was really hard to find a vein to tap. I had very good anti nausea mess, so I didn't get sick. I did have to do the white blood cell shots just about every week. My immune system was shot. I think the side effects from those shots were worse than those from the chemo.

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    Decision Point (Work or not/aggressive treatment): I Waited three weeks to find out what type of cancer I had. the doctors seemed pretty sure that I had lymphoma,but they weren't sure if it was hodgkins or non-hodgkins. I remember feeling waves of fear during that period. I would be fine one minute and then having a panic attack the next. I really wanted to talk to other people who had dealt with this phase--the not knowing, the waiting. I continued to work. Being in the classroom with students was very helpful, and it kept me from obsessing too much. I didn't want to be alone during this time. The fear was worse at night, so my friends took turns staying with me each night.

    When I found out it was hodgkins, my parents and brother, and I celebrated. The doctors said there was at least an 80% cure rate. I figured I could make it into the 80%! At this point, my doctor and I agreed tobe as aggressive as possible no matter what. He kept his bargain--I never missed a chemo appointment even when my white cells were at zero.

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    Procedure or Surgery (Broncoscopy,lymph node removed, bone marrow sampling): The broncoscopy was to do a biopsy of the tumor in my chest. The lymph node surgery confirmed the findings of the broncoscopy and determined whether I had hodgkins or not. The bone marrow sampling was to determine if the cancer had spread. my oncologist was concerned because of my symptoms,especially the night sweats. The bone marrow sampling was the worst of all of my procedures. Very painful.

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    Oh No (Problem with doctor): Hearing that you have cancer is a life changing diagnosis. Hopefully, you hear this news in an office, face to face with your trusted doctor and with someone you love to support you. It's suppose to be a team thing. You should feel like you have an advocate not a doctor/clinic that is worried that you are going to sue them for malpractice. I'm not sure if the latter is the actual case in my situation, but it is how I felt. Needless to say, after I got my original diagnosis, I never heard from my doctor again even though I made sure that she had a copy of absolutely everything that happened to me in my journey. Here's how it all began. I had gone to my doctor 9 months previous to my diagnosis. I knew something was not right, but was told that I was fine. I originally thought that I had pneumonia and I wanted an chest x-ray, but after listening to my lungs my doctor told me they were clear, fine. I was put on an antibiotic and told to come back in two weeks if I wasn't better. I returned in two weeks and got an inhaler. Essentially, I visited the doctor every month from January to May at which point I apologized for wasting her time. I am a teacher and I was getting ready for summer break and trip to Europe. At this point, I was having night sweats and was taking Advil at least 4 times a day every day to keep total body pain at bay. If I could take the pain away, I felt pretty good although very tired most of the time. At the end of the summer, I had an appointment with my gynecologist. She asked me how I was feeling. I told her okay except for the pain. She wanted to know how long and what had been done: blood work, x-rays, testing? I told her it had been almost 9 months and really nothing had been done. She typed something into her computer and told me 9 months was much too long to have had to deal with this pain. Amazingly, the next day I was in having blood work and chest x-rays. Three days later, I got a call at the end of the day at work and was told that "there was a spot on my lung and they thought I had lymphoma." This was how I got the news: at the end of the school day, in the middle of a busy high school office, with an armful of books, no understanding of the terms that the doctor was telling me, and no support. She had already made appointments for me to get a CAT scan and to see a pulmanologist. I was attempting to write down details, get times and dates and names for the appointments, and to comprehend this news she was giving to me. All I could think about was that my cousin had died two years previous of lymphoma, and now I was going to die too. I was 37. I finally told her that I couldn't talk to her anymore. I hung up and wandered into the guts of the office looking for someone, anyone I knew. I pulled a friend, my vice principal out of a meeting. She took me into her office knowing something was terribly wrong. She asked me what was the matter, and when I could find a voice, I let out a primal cry that I know filled the entire office.

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