January 8th 2009 is the day I won't forget. It was one week away from being diagnosed with Follicular Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma Grade 1 stage 4.
I'd been treated for a stomach ulcer for many years, occasionally suffering from terrible pains and then suffering bouts of nausea. It all came to a head that Thursday; I'd had severe pains all day and was unable to sleep. Gary, my husband took me to the out of hour's Doctor who then referred me to the QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City, where I received morphine and was sent home. After a sleepless night of being violently sick every 2 hours, I returned to the Doctor the next morning, who then referred me back to the hospital. I was finally admitted to hospital not knowing that I was to spend the next two weeks in there, including my 47th Birthday 3 days after being admitted.
During surgery they removed the tumour, surrounding tissue and part of my intestine. A week later I received the news that I had been dreading; it was what they had suspected and further tests showed the cancer had also spread to my bone marrow and chest.
If this was not enough of a shock we also tragically lost Gary's Dad the day after I came home from the hospital.
On the 1st of April I started my first of eight sessions of chemotherapy (RCVP), one every three weeks for a whole day. One of my side effects was hair thinning; fortunately I didn't lose it all. I was also put on steroids. During the first week after each session of chemo I had to take twenty four tablets a day, gradually reducing until the next session where it all started again. The course of chemotherapy finished on August the 28th and a month later I was told that it had been successful. The Doctors said that if I could get through the next year and it returned they would put me on the same chemotherapy treatment again. Should the cancer return before September 2010 they would have to put me on a far more aggressive treatment.
Fortunately, it didn't return and now, 5 years on, I'm still in remission. I have check ups once every 4 months so I know they're keeping it in check. However, 3 months after being told I was in remission, I think I had delayed shock, and would get terrible panic attacks so was put on antidepressants. I am still on antidepressants which have been a Godsend for me. They, and the Lymphoma have taught me to not worry about things as I used to be a terrible stresser and worrier. I now enjoy my life to the full and hope my story will give some hope to NHL sufferers that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Cx