23:25, Tuesday 10th August 2021. Apparently I can’t write a post without first stating the exact time I started.
We left off early this morning with the hope that a diagnosis would be coming at some point during the day. After publishing the blog post yesterday I read some lymphoma stories and was so sure the upcoming news would hit me hard. Up until this point I’ve been mostly positive, haven’t gone down any internet worm holes and have generally stuck to reading material on trusted sites (NHS, MacMillan and Lymphoma Action). So I think I was finally ready to break down.
The day started routinely, my respiratory consultant didn’t have major news for me, just that they’d continue giving me antibiotics for the time being so that if treatment was needed, my chest would be in tip-top shape for it.
My brother arrived shortly after with some home food and gifts from friends (slippers, a 6ft USB-C wire and a really nice journal) and from then on it was essentially a waiting game until the Haematologist arrived.
I had a long overdue shower and donned a Barcelona top which was kindly gifted to me by one of my cousins. I was ready.
The Haematologist arrived mid-afternoon and asked me what I knew so far (see previous post). She then went on to confirm that yes, I did indeed have a Lymphoma. *Cue the dramatic squirrel music*
Truth be told, this didn’t really hit me at all! Maybe it’s because I’d already convinced myself of the outcome, or maybe it’s because she instantly went on to give me more information, but no tear was shed. There was a strange feeling in my throat at one point but this swiftly passed whilst I focused on the info at hand.
The Lymphoma in my body is specifically a form of Hodgkin Lymphoma, which is common in the early 20’s (I’m 27 but probably 24 at heart), and more specifically it is Nodular Sclerosing Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma, currently at Stage 3.
I’d like to note that the consultant didn’t dwell on the news too long, and barely even paused after confirming the diagnosis. With an up-beat attitude she went straight into info mode, and her confidence in the treatment options available really radiated with me.
She spoke about how this type of cancer has a really good outlook, and how the majority of patients can fight it off with chemo without it returning. She covered so many of the questions I’d proudly pre-prepared; the chemotherapy would last ideally 6 months, with drugs being delivered once every 2 weeks for 12 weeks. 2 Sessions make up a cycle, so that gives 6 cycles in total. The drugs in question being Doxorubicin, Vinblastine and Dacarabazine (AVD for short).
She covered the side effects; hair falling out, nausea, fatigue etc.. Thankfully however I’d already read up on this beforehand and had my head around it. The beauty of waiting 2 weeks for a final diagnosis.
All in all the consultant was extremely helpful and of course incredibly knowledgeable. She answered the few questions I did have left, specifics about the hair falling out, questions on isolation as well as effects on fertility (sperm bank here I come) and finally gave a rough idea of a plan going forward.
The fact I’m still testing positive for covid complicates matters somewhat from a logistical point of view, but the next steps are pretty much to visit the sperm bank and get a PET scan, before starting chemo. It’s likely the lymphoma was bubbling away for the past few months, so a delay of a couple weeks before treatment should be no big deal.
To conclude, I’m feeling positive about the chemo and crucially so is my family. Onwards and upwards! Here’s to the next 6 months of isolation, and living life in hermit mode. Essentially a dream come true.
If you managed to get this far down the post then please do leave a comment! I’d love to interact with anyone, whether you’ve been through a similar process or not.
Signing Out. Peace!