It was an extraordinarily long time coming. Agonizing and worry-provoking. Sicker and sicker I felt with each passing day, week and month. A time filled with surgeries, tests, medicines, doctor appointments, and endless waiting. I knew in my heart from the CT Scan what the general diagnosis was going to be, and it was confirmed in two tortuous months. I then learned along the way that narrowing it down was a necessary and tedious process. One that required more endless waiting, more tests, and more medicines to address my constant sick feeling. Two more months and I finally have my diagnosis. I have Non-Hodgkin’s B-Cell Lymphoma.
In early April, my husband woke up around 4am to see why I was so restless. I’d been up on and off all night trying to make sense out of my severe abdominal pain, and doing every thing I could to wish it away. It just wouldn’t let up. I asked him to take me to the emergency room. Without delay, we were on our way. I received immediate attention; an IV and morphine, and an order for an abdominal CT Scan. While waiting for the results and feeling no pain because of the morphine, Brian and I talked about retirement and the things we were dreaming of doing. Then, the doctor walked in to discuss the results. Enlarged Abdominal Lymph Nodes with evidence of some of them dying off. I can’t say I was completely surprised because I had heard the term “Enlarged Lymph Nodes” directed at me three years ago when I had a similar problem. I had visited an Oncologist then and he thought that there was nothing out of the ordinary, that some people have larger lymph nodes than the average size. And I felt fine then, so we stopped worrying and continued living. This new report whisked my peace of mind and sense of well-being away. I thought, I’m officially a cancer patient.
Although my condition in April required emergency medical attention, in looking back, I realized that I hadn’t felt well since the end of February. I noticed that I started using a smaller cereal bowl and I started to lose a little weight. I justified everything by blaming it on aging and stress. The other thing that got my attention during late winter was that I stopped dancing. I stopped playing my favorite music and did my chores in silence.
Hind sight is 20/20.
I began treatment on August 4th. I’m writing now because today is the best I’ve felt in several months. As fatigue has been a constant, I’m running out of energy and will continue my story as I’m able. It’s full of worry, waiting, complicated explanations, phone calls, finger crossing, and praying. Mixed in are happy doses of good will, amazing support, phone calls from family and friends, cards, emails, text messages, Facebook messages, food, flowers, books, medals, and overall guidance and encouragement from my closest people.