Louise Smith
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Life after Hodgkin lymphoma six years on

Louise Smith
Posted by
03 Mar 2015

Who would have believed it? November 2007 I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. I had major surgery, then chemotherapy, and thought I could return to work eventually and get on with my life. Someone was having a joke at my expense because from "We think we have all the tumour and 6 months of chemotherapy should clear anything we may have missed" to finding out that actually I had a very aggressive and relapsing form of HL was a blow. Previous blogs have covered a little of what happened so I won't bore you by going over old ground.

Tomorrow is a big anniversary...6 years since I had my stem cell transplant, my last chance, and then not given tremendous odds of surviving a year, but hey...
I usually pour myself something nice around 2.15pm, and reflect on how fortunate I have been, and also think about those who didn't make it, friends I had made at chemo sessions, and also those who spent many hours on the ward, like me.

I also think about the fantastic things that have happened that I could have missed out on...my daughter getting married to a wonderful man, who has been a fantastic support to all the family; My two boys who have grown into lovely, hardworking young men; Becoming a granny to Adam and Beth which has given me a second wind.

Last year I felt I could not do a sponsored walk for a number of reasons, but wanted to help in any other way I could. The first project was getting involved in the 100 Project where I met Hywel and Naomi. Having my photo taken in a public place was quite daunting, but the results were lovely.

I then went to the Legacy Event where I met Cathy Gilman, Professor Bunce and Andy Jackson for the first time. It was a lovely day, even though some tears were shed when we listened to each other's stories.

In September I attended the First Birmingham Bikeathon as a volunteer. It was amazing seeing all these riders setting off. Those doing the longer route were going to Broadway (not that one...Worcestershire!!!) and I knew they had a very steep climb there. I hope to be there again this year.

I then received a message about a series of videos being made about patient experiences, and was asked if I would take part. You can read about my day in my previous blog.

Unfortunately this winter has caused havoc with my health. As I was a challenging patient I am still being seen regularly by my consultant, and he arranged for chest x-ray, and an echocardiogram. I went for my check-up last Thursday, and my heart (which needed a repair during the operation to remove the tumour) is not pumping as well as it should, I had high blood pressure and pulse. I am now awaiting an appointment with the cardiologist. I hope it is the same one who picked up on my original problem.

Living with cancer is tough, living after cancer sometimes proves to be just as challenging. I get bad days still, when I have little energy and get breathless, but they are few and far between. When I was ill with what seemed like the longest bout of flu, my long-suffering husband booked a holiday for us to look forward to....a couple of weeks touring Spain by train (well he will be 65 this year) Not many weeks to go now....

Well tomorrow when I have my glass of something I will think of all you lovely people, those who have helped raise money, are volunteers, work in research, look after us when we need you, and those who are still going through treatment. Cheers

Oh! Nearly forgot! Celebrating my 59th birthday on Thursday too. Having a week of lunches with friends, pamper session and afternoon tea on Friday with my daughter, after a musical event with my grandchildren...and I don't know what surprises hubby has up his sleeve. Yep! Life is pretty good!

If you've recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and have yet to receive treatment you could be eligible to take part in a new clincial trial. Read more here.

Comments

04.03.2015

Absolutely wonderful blog, Louise!

You've got a lot to celebrate this week and rightly so! You've got so much enthusiasm and never let things get you down even when you have set backs and are a real inspiration to me as whenever I start feeling sorry for myself when I get a cough/cold or think about my lung problem I think of everything you've been through and think how you'd deal with it all and this helps me snap out of my funk!

Have a fantastic couple of days and hopefully see you soon!

04.03.2015

I shall be thinking of you at 2.15pm Louise! As well as looking back, it seems you have a huge amount to look forward to.  Have a wonderful birthday and holiday.  You certainly deserve it.

Great blog as always! Cheering up the office as per usual!

Take care, 

Kate 

Anonymous
04.03.2015

Thank you. You too inspire so many people. Just back from lovely lunch. As my friend said, I have come a long way since 2007!

Anonymous
04.03.2015

Thanks Kate. Hope you are all well. So much to give thanks for.

Anonymous
04.03.2015

I was diagnosed as pt.of CLL &CRF in 2006 recieved three pulse of chemo now fourth is due except period of chemo Im working at ful pace.Im surgeon doing my work regularly.Thanks to my family & friends they always keeping my morale high.massage for cancer pt. Keep morale high,remain busy in proffeson (diversion) and live life lively.

Anonymous
06.03.2015

What a great post. I too am a HL survivor coming up on 8 years since my original diagnosis and treatment and 6 years since my relapse. Life your life every moment and inspire those who are suffering through their journey. Have a very happy birthday.

09.03.2015

Thank you for your comment, and I hope you continue as you are

09.03.2015

Thank you for your kind words. I had a lovely birthday. I hope you continue in good health.....we are unstoppable!!!