Lucy
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Chapter 1: The start of my journey with NHL

Lucy
Posted by
29 Aug 2018

Diagnosis & the start of my journey with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

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So... Where to start?

Well, 3 weeks ago I woke up in the morning with what doctors had presumed up until that point was a chest infection or asthma, and I went to sleep on a ward in hospital having had a chest X-ray and being told that they were pretty sure that I had lymphoma... Yeah... "One of those days" just doesn't quite cut it ha!

After spending the night in the hospital to have a CT scan the following day, they let me go home to just wait for results really, which let me tell you has to be the strangest 3 weeks of my life. It's a very odd feeling when someone tells you that they think you have cancer (and even after you've seen the mass on an X-ray and marvelled at the size of it), it's very difficult to actually believe them. You think 'No that can't be right, I'm fit and healthy and a vegan for Pete's sake!' How can I have been walking around for most likely months with a tumour in the centre of my chest squeezing the blood vessels and my heart and decreasing my lung size and not have known it?! Apparently, it's because I'm fit and healthy and so my body has compensated for the changes. Catch 22 I suppose.

So three weeks have passed and in those three weeks, I have had a biopsy, more blood tests than I can count, two CT scans, been made radioactive for the day for a PET scan and been officially diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which is classed as a blood cancer of the lymphatic system. Still waiting on final in detail test results to confirm the specific sub-type of NHL (there are 50?!!?!) but they've narrowed it down to either Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma or Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma, which are both a mouthful.

I'm one of those people who finds the human body and the workings of it fascinating. I have to know everything about everything. I need to know how the cancer works, how the drugs work; the science of it all. The word 'cancer' has such a stigma around it. It invokes thoughts of foreign masses in the body; something very wrong that shouldn't be there, which is true in part, but it is just a part of me, a part of my body that has had the wrong information sent to it and gone a bit wild. It's still a part of me, a group of cells that are reproducing way too fast and causing problems. Albeit rather big problems for me, throttling my heart and major blood vessels and pushing my lungs out of the way!

I've been told by many reliable sources that usually Lymphomas respond extremely well to treatment and that they can be cured. So that's what we're aiming for. Complete remission. I knew my stubbornness and hard-headedness would come into use one day! I am going to kick this cancer's butt.

I thought I was having a tough time of things up until a month ago, not being able to find a job since finishing my Master's degree but this has given me a whole new look on life and made me appreciate things that perhaps I overlooked before?

And Sod's bloody law, of course, I was actually offered a job the day I was diagnosed haha. You wait months for a job offer and then you get cancer!