Growing up is hard to do. As a 24 year old, just starting out in the working world, being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma can be a big blow. Here's my attempt at putting it behind me as smoothly as possible.

06 February, 2008

2 Years!

Well, yesterday was my 2 year check up. It actually hasn't been two full years but I guess each of my appointments has been a bit before schedule. I don't really care though, I'm 2 years cancer free!

Looking back I realize that the memories of my experience are beginning to fade. I don't think about what I went through as much as I should. I'm taking life for granted again. I feel like the only thing that I've really taken from this is compassion for others going through medical issues.

One of my old friends from rowing was recently paralyzed after diving into a lake, a friend of a friend was diagnosed with Hodkgin's in Victoria and a friend of a friend was diagnosed with testicular cancer in Calgary. I'd like to dedicate this milestone to them. You too will soon forget of the trials that you've been through and life will return to you.

I now only have to go for checkups every 6 months. Pretty slack!

14 June, 2007

+16 Months

My chest x-rays are clear, my blood work is perfect and the physical exam was good! I was a bit nervous before this one, but it seems like I shouldn't have been! My next checkup will be in October.

07 June, 2007

+16 Month Tests Delayed

My next visit was supposed to be June 5th, but it was delayed because Dr. Blahey is on vacation. I'm going in on June 12th, next Tuesday, instead. This time I'm getting a chest x-ray, bloodwork and a physical exam. I guess those PET scans cause too many false positive scares. I'm very thankful for that because I don't know if I could handle another one!

26 March, 2007

A Year Later.....

I'm still clean! Sorry this is a bit late, I've been a bit busy with everything. I took on a couple contracts outside of Nortel to make some extra money and have simply run out of hours in the day.

I now switch to checkups every 4 months instead of 3. My next one is just a chest x-ray and bloodwork in June. I'm pretty excited because the chances of relapse fall quite a bit after the first year has passed. Hopefully it will stay away for a long time!

07 November, 2006

+9 Months - Clean!

I have no idea why the last one showed activity but my +9 month scan was completely clean. No cancer!!! I must have been excited or something for that last one :) I have decided that these scares are going to be no fun in the future so I hope to have few of them.

I think it's time to start enjoying life again, I was starting to get a bit down there. Bring on the ski season!

31 October, 2006


I had my +9 month PET scan and now begins the longest week ever waiting for the results. I get them next Tuesday (Novemeber 7th) along with my bloodwork results. I still don't know whether I'm optimistic or not, I come and go. I really just want to know what the deal is and get on with it.

06 October, 2006

New condo!

My next scan will be on October 31st. Yes, that's Halloween, I think I might dress up. That is probably going to be the most important scan yet because it will confirm or deny the activity shown in the last scan. Keep your fingers crossed!

Last weekend I moved in to my new condo, here's a couple shots for everybody:

31 August, 2006

+6 Months

Well, I've been delaying making this post because I really don't know what to say. I got my results last Tuesday (August 22nd) and my PET scan shows 2 nodes with metabolic activity in it. So basically there are two options here:

1. It's just an infection/cold/whatever which is causing these 2 lymph nodes to do something.

2. The cancer is back.

I have to go back in 3 months and have another PET scan. If that scan comes back negative, then it's back to life as usual. I did have a cold the week or two before my scan, so maybe that caused the activity. If that one is positive again then we've got a pretty serious issue. A relapse in your first year (I'm only at 6 months) post chemo is pretty much a death sentence. Google it if you want to see some papers on it, but it's not good.

So, I'm kind of freaking out sometimes and then thinking it might be something else the other times. I'm always thinking about it though. This is going to be a long three months....

30 May, 2006

+3 Months

Well, it's been 3 months already. I went for my first post treatment check-up and it went pretty well. I asked about diving again and Dr. Blahey said that it would be best if I never dove again. I guess it's time to start forgetting about it. My veins should start to get better after about 6 months. The main vein in my bicep used to be big and soft and it has now turned into a little, hard, brown wire running up my arm. I hope it starts to soften up soon. My white blood cells aren't returning very quickly. They have only climbed to 1.6 from 1.4 before my last treatment. For comparison, the normal range is 2-8 and I was at 11 before chemo (elevated because of the cancer).

I've got a PET scan and another check-up in about 3 months. Until then I'm going to keep on trucking and getting back into shape. My energy levels seem to be pretty much back to normal, though I feel like I haven't slept enough most of the time. I've been playing beach volleyball at lunch, I'm in two evening indoor volleyball leagues (Mon & Wed), and I've started biking with Dawn again. Bring on summer!

14 May, 2006


I think this blog is pretty much done. I'll keep you updated with scan results but hopefully I won't have to use this much again.

My next scan is May 30th, just bloodwork and a physical exam. I will have a PET scan near the end of the year.

I'm feeling pretty much back to normal. All of the side effects except tiredness are gone. My hair is even starting to come back!

20 March, 2006

Phase 2 Begins

Phase 1 (beat cancer) - check

Phase 2 (get back in shape) - starting now

I'm back at work now and trying to get my sleep schedule back to something manageable. I'm hoping to start working out next week, we'll see how that goes. I signed up for 2 volleyball leagues for the summer and I'm thinking about maybe doing something else. It's exciting because I can do whatever I want this summer! Not that I couldn't before, but this summer just feels different....

08 March, 2006

Finished, but crying

I can't remember the last time I was crying, probably last year when my grandfather passed away, but I am right now. It's been an emotional day.

My chemo went well. The IV slid in on the first try, no burning in my veins, I'm not feeling all that bad right now, etc.

I got home and checked the Hodgkins support website which I do often. I was all set to brag about being finished. One of my friends, a beautiful young girl, diagnosed about the same time as me, sharing the same experiences as me, Caitlin Homes, had passed away. Her mom posted the message and told us that she got pneumonia yesterday and passed away in her sleep. My girlfriend welled up at the news, but I held it together. I didn't want to read too much because I was having dinner with my girlfriend, my sister and her boyfriend.

We had dinner and then opened up a fantastic bottle of port that my friend Ananth bought me for finishing chemo. It was delicious! We were all very happy that I was finally finished with this ordeal.

Then my girlfriend left, my sister and her boyfriend went to sleep, and I went back to the support website to read it fully. I read the mother's comments and I read all of the condolences left by the members (all people who have gone through or who are going through Hodgkins). I completely lost it, and I think I did so for two reasons.

1. She was just an amazing girl. She was probably only 20 but she seemed so incredibly happy right up until the end. Her comments always included funny pictures of her and her friends, she enjoyed life, she made those around her happy. She was worried that her sadness would impact her parents so she tried to hide it. Why do we lose those who are so good so young?

2. It made me realize my own mortality. My 30% recurrence chances are not good odds. I've made it this far, but am I really done? I sure hope so.

Here are some great pictures of Caitlin, she will always be remembered.

Laughing is my favorite, my laugh is really loud. - Caitlin

Caitlin is the second person on our board to have passed away after Rickie-Lee just passed away a little while ago. It's a horrible disease and I hope from the bottom of my heart that my time with it is over.

The last one......

I'm just getting ready to go in for my last treatment! I'm more nervous for this one than for any of the others. I just can't wait for it to be all done.

18 February, 2006

I want to be sedated

So I get into the hospital for chemo #11 and the nurse decides to put my IV in a vein a little bit up my arm, just above my wrist. It seems to go in alright and she starts pumping saline in and walks away. It starts to hurt quite a bit and I tell my dad, the nurse comes by to check it and my arm is swelling up pretty good. I guess it blew the vein and it wasn't going anywhere good. That hurt so much and when she took out the IV I had to put pressure on it too. Brutal.

I guess my veins weren't too cooperative after that and they had to give me a sedative to try to relax me so that they could get the IV in again. It ended up taking 4 tries after I was given the sedative. The rest of the treatment went by alright though.

I've been pretty sick since then. I hope it will start getting better soon. I got an extra day of anti-nausea medication, but I don't really think it does much good. I seem to feel the same whether I take it or not.

One left!

12 February, 2006

Nearing the end

I've had 10 out of 12 treatments now with the 2nd last one this Wednesday. I'm getting pretty confident now and am just looking forward to being done. I haven't updated my blog for a bit, and have had a couple requests to do so, just because I've been feeling about average. This was my first time having 5 needles of Neupogen, I usually have 4, so I had some amazing bone pain and didn't really sleep at all on Friday night. I'm feeling pretty good now though and ready to do #11.

29 January, 2006

Back to skiing!

I had a great day at Sunshine Village today. Dave and I headed out and were greeted with free passes and some of the best snow I've skiied in a couple years. Lighting was a little flat and at about 2pm I broke my pole in half, but it was still a great day.

I am feeling much better now after this chemo. It really took it out of me and I didn't even get much work done until Thursday. I think I might start taking a day or two more off of work. Right now I have chemo on Wednesday and then take Thursday and Friday off. I think it's getting quite a bit worse though and that I should take Monday and maybe Tuesday off as well. I didn't even go into work on Tuesday because I felt so crappy this week.

19 January, 2006


Chemo is a good way to kill your high. I'm feeling pretty crappy again, but I'm now 3/4 done! I can't tell yet whether it is easier or harder to continue with treatments once you know that the cancer is gone. On the one hand you know it's working and doing it's job, but on the other it seems pointless. Almost done I guess....

17 January, 2006

Cancer Free!!!!!

Got the results of my PET scan back today and I am officially cancer free! As they put it they "detected no metabolic activity"! It's kind of crappy that I still have to return for 4 more treatments, but I'm on top of the world still.

10 January, 2006

PET Scan #2

Well, I've now finished two-thirds of my chemo and this morning I had my second PET scan. They try to get rid of all of the cancer by the two-thirds point so this mornings test will tell us if it has worked. I'm pretty nervous about it, have been for a couple weeks now. If there is still cancer remaining I think that's a pretty bad sign. I don't think I'll get the results until my normal appointment next Tuesday though. It's going to be a long wait!

29 December, 2005

Suprise Party!

Wow. I had no idea this was going to happen at all. I was hanging out with my old high school friends, driving all over the city and we were going to end up at the Bull & Finch, one of our old watering holes. When I walked in there was my family, co-workers, friends from school and friends from rowing. Lots of people I hadn't seen in a long time. It was just incredible.

My girlfriend and one of my friends did most of the organizing and it was a great job done by all. There was an auction at the pub and people donated personally and got others to donate as well. In total they raised over $2500! Amazing! Thank you to everybody who took part, and sorry that I couldn't see you to all those who couldn't make it. I was really touched by the whole event.

27 December, 2005

Happy Holidays!

I hope everybody had a great Christmas! Ours was really nice and I'm feeling great. That's important because there has been lots of turkey to eat around here. I think my weight is almost back to normal due to excessive turkey consumption. Enjoy your New Years and be safe over the rest of the holidays!

16 December, 2005


Number 7 is done and it's going pretty well. I think I'm just excited because I get 3 weeks off after this one and I'm done for the year! I'm pretty busy for the next 3 weeks or so as friends start coming back to Calgary and Christmas parties abound. I'm excited for Dave and Laura's wedding as well!

My Dad took my picture yesterday at chemo:

14 December, 2005

Opening Day at Fernie!

I went skiing on the weekend at Fernie for opening day. Pretty good time, but I got tired out pretty quick. I had to stop skiing and head to the lodge at 3pm (skiing closes at 4pm). I tried to salvage my consciousness with a coffee and a Snickers, but I was passed out at a cafeteria table 2 minutes later. It was still a great time though.

I'm about to head in for my 7th treatment, my last one of the year! I just want this one to be over so I can enjoy Christmas/New Years. I have lots of friends coming home and I can't wait to see them all!

03 December, 2005

Halfway Done!

I have now finished number 6! They are definitely getting worse. I get this horrible taste in my mouth during the treatment and it hasn't really gone away. The nausea has been about average this time, but I'm getting very tired. Thursday I got up at 1:30pm and was back in bed by about 4pm. That would be an ideal day for me if I didn't have to do anything else!

I have one more treatment this year and then it's Christmas and Dave/Laura's wedding time!

22 November, 2005

Skiing Soon!

This weekend is my friend Dave's stag and we've got chalets booked in Banff for a weekend of skiing and relaxing. I'm so excited to get back out on the slopes. I'm planning on trying to ski on all of my "good" weekends, so every other weekend. Hopefully 15 days this year!

I've got a bit of a sore throat right now. I went to the doctor this morning and he did a throat swab and prescribed me some penicillin. We don't know if it's strep throat or just chemo pains, but he said it's better to overmedicate in my case. It could be pretty bad if I get sick as I don't have the greatest immune system now.

Other than that I'm feeling good and excited for the weekend!

17 November, 2005


Number 5 is now past me. It was a pretty bad start, I normally don't have any trouble getting the IV in and this time took 5 tries between 3 nurses. I'm so tracked up I look like a junkie. I normally don't start feeling sick until later that night or the next morning and this time I felt sick from the second it started flowing too. Today has been par for the course though, not too bad. The weather is getting nice here so hopefully I'll get outside for a bit soon. I need to enjoy the last couple good days before winter sets in!

11 November, 2005

Pain Day

Days 5-8 of each cycle are days that I get my Neupogen injections. They stimulate your bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. This causes the bone marrow to expand and on day 9, today, it is at it's peak. It hurts the most in my hips because that is where you have the most bone marrow. I brought my bottle of Tylenol into work today and it's sitting beside me.

I guess it's kind of fitting that it's happening on Rememberance Day this time. I hope you all take the time to remember those who fought for us so long ago. We live in the best country in the world, and I'm sure without them it would be quite different today.

01 November, 2005

Good News Finally!

I just got back from my appointment at the hospital.

- My white blood cell counts are up to a decent level so I won't need to increase the number of Neupogen shots any more. They will remain at 4 per treatment (days 5, 6, 7, 8).

- My lung test shows that I have 130% of normal capacity, well above average, but I told him that I'm feeling quite a bit better without the Bleo in the last treatment. Even though I still have good lungs, I know that they were much better before chemo. He's decided to withold the Bleo for the rest so I think my lungs might be fine and scuba diving might happen again!

- My liver is clean! This means that it was a cancerous tumor and that the chemo has killed it all off. This is great news because it means the chemo is working and that I didn't have any other liver issues!

4th chemo is going to happen tomorrow and I'm happy now that I know that everything is going well. One third done after this one!

25 October, 2005


It's 10:30 and I have now finished my last food and drink until dinner time. Anybody who knows me well, knows that this will be a remarkable feat if I pull it off. I have an MRI of my liver at 4:30 and can't eat or drink 6 hours before! I just had a nice big breakfast and drank some water, we'll see how it goes! I'm a bit worried about the results, mostly because every result I've gotten so far has been worse than I imagined. I'm hoping the chemo has had an effect on it and it's not looking too bad though.

Last Friday I had my PFT (pulmonary function test). I've been having troubles breathing, especially when I workout, and this seems like a common side-effect of Bleomycin. I had to breathe into some fancy tubes for about a half hour, holding my breath, blowing out as hard as possible, etc. The techinician remarked that my results were very good, some of the best he had ever seen. This only frustrated me, because I realize that I have great lungs as I've lived a pretty active life, especially when compared to 80 year old cancer patients, but that they have no baseline for ME to compare it to. I wish they did one at the start of chemo so that they have something to compare it to. I'm sure my doctor is just going to say it's fine and that I'm well above average and put me back on Bleomycin. Argh!

My girlfriend's mom has been giving me all of my Neupogen shots so far. Realizing that winter is coming up, making daily drives to her house a little improbable, and that either Dawn or I have to give me my shot on Thursday in Victoria, Dawn gave me my shot last night. My mom is going to give me my shot tonight. It's kind of scary being a guinea pig for this, but Dawn did great last night and I'm sure my mom will too. I don't think I'll ever be able to give myself one though!

23 October, 2005


I think #3 was the worst so far. I've been pretty sick the entire time since chemo. The second one went well so I was hoping I might get less sick as they went, but I guess that's not the case.

I'm starting to get over it now though and I'm excited for my trip to Victoria this weekend. I'm heading out to take pictures at the Head of the Gorge, a big rowing race. Dawn is coming out with me and I'll get to show her all around my old home.

19 October, 2005

Here goes #3!

I had my bloodwork done yesterday and chatted with the doctor a bit. My white blood cells were up to 1.6 this time, still not up into the 2-8 range, so I'm going to have to do 4 shots each time now of Neupogen. Boo! I told him about my lung issues and he's going to remove the Bleomycin this time and I have to go for a lung performance test sometime soon. I hope that goes well.

I'm about to head in for my third chemo and after this one I'll be one quarter done!