Dan, 24 yrs, Essex Blog 1:
It all started back in December 2011 when i was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I suppose its just one of those things that doesn't sink in, or seem "real" for a while.. thats how it seemed with me anyway.
Even though I had been told that this type of chemotherapy was an aggressive one, nothing could really prepare me for how it was going to make me feel, although 2 of my close friends did shave their hair off as I lost mine which helped knowing people were there for me and willing to do such a thing to make me feel better about myself. After my 3rd cycle of chemotherapy my PET scan showed no activity and i was in remission a lot quicker than I expected! I had to finish the whole course of treatment which was another 3 cycles but it was a weight off the mind knowing I'd beaten it, and being told the chances of it returning were slim which was reassuring.
Unfortunately in December (again) of 2014 I had a PET scan due to feeling unwell for a period of time and was told shortly after that my lymphoma had relapsed, and that i would need to have more chemotherapy. I suppose it was more difficult to come to terms with this time around because I knew what was coming, and i had a hard time on the ABVD chemo from before especially with nausea and vomiting, as well as not being able to eat properly.
After having all the tests done again such as a bone marrow biopsy etc i was then placed under the care of the UCLH hospital in London where i would have 2 cycles of intensive ESHAP chemotherapy. I finished the course of chemo on the 15th feb of this year (2015). I had a good response to it but my latest scan showed that I still have the disease. The next step (which began 3 days ago) is a new kind of treatment that has aparently proved successful so fingers crossed! It's an antibody based treatment called 'Brentuximab' and so far I haven't had any side effects at all which means no nausea or sickness!! :-) :-)
In 9 weeks time I will have another PET scan to see I am in remission again or not. If I am I will need a stem cell transplant afterwards. Again, no idea what to expect but lets do it!. Positivity and having friends and family around are what have gotten me this far because there were times when my treatment seemed like it was getting too much, but got to keep moving forwards!
Thanks for reading my first (and probably awful) first attempt at a blog lol will be back with another update in a few weeks. Keep smiling! x