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.

28 July, 2005

Dr. Gillis #2

I show up nice and early, the receptionist is very happy and cheerful to me. I think something is up, but think nothing of it, content that both an aneurysm and lymphoma have been ruled out. It must be something minor I've convinced myself. When I see Dr. Gillis he has his little mirror on his head just like when he took the samples last time. Not again I'm thinking, this time I'll probably pass out before he even touches me. He talks about the results and calmly tells me that I have Hodgkins Lymphoma. I didn't really know what it was, only the basics. I ask him if it was cancer, "Yes." That was enough for me. My brain shut-off and he took more samples from the tumor (yes, now I thought of it as a tumor). I was in such a state of shock I didn't have a chance to even worry about the fact that I had a needle in my neck and completely forgot to pass out.

I walked out in a daze and called my Dad at home. I cried quite a bit and told him that I was coming home. I called my girlfriend and told her the news. She was already in a predicament with her leaving for Europe the next day and their hotels were booked for the wrong month. She was crying in the travel agents office, who told her she would take care of things and sent her home. She made her way over to my house, as did my Mom whom my Dad had called after I hung up with him.

I just kind of sat at home with my girlfriend and my parents for most of the day. Talking now and then, asking questions, but mostly we just cried, hugged or sat quietly in disbelief. I sent out an e-mail to some of my friends explaining the news and sent one to work saying that I wouldn't be in for a bit. My life is going to be completely different from here on.

27 July, 2005

Results are in

Dr. Gillis's office calls me and informs me that the results from the sample are in. I have an appointment with them the next morning to discuss it.

22 July, 2005

Dr. Gillis #1

Dr. Gillis is my new ear, nose and throat specialist and I arrive to hear the results of the ultrasound. He says that they saw the lump and that he needed a sample from it to figure out what it is. I say great, thinking it will happen another day, and am ready to leave when he starts pullling out needles. I don't like needles and I've already had more than enough for the year, just this last week, so this doesn't make me very happy. He inserts the first needle to freeze the area, then proceeds to insert a second needle into the lump. He pumps the plunger in and out as I become more and more dizzy. After this he tells me he needs to do it twice more. On the third time all I remember is dreaming and woke up with a cold towel on my neck and forehead. I'm feeling weak and shaky from passing out, so I don't end up getting into work.

20 July, 2005

The Ultrasound

My ultrasound which was supposed to have been done on Saturday has now taken place on Wednesday. Each day I am told that it might be able to be done the next day. Finally, that next day is today. I go to the Rocky View Hospital and have my ultrasound. I strain my neck trying to see the screen as it is happening, but I can't make out enough of it. Mental note, I need to stretch my neck more. I ask her how it looks but she explains that she cannot tell me or make an analysis herself. I guess I will be doing some more waiting.

15 July, 2005

Let the fun begin

I go to a walk-in clinic with my girlfriend Dawn. I show him the lump and he feels it, listens to it with the stethoscope and declares it to be an aneurysm. He jokingly adds that he's glad it's not lymphoma because then he would be telling me that I was about to die. Instead I only had a high chance of dying, either by a blood clot going to my brain or it bursting and causing me to bleed to death within 2 minutes. He calls ahead to the hospital getting surgeons ready to go and my girlfriend's parents drive me to the hospital where my parents will join us.

Once admitted I am given an IV, blood work is done, x-rays are taken of my neck and chest, etc. I am very frightened and so is my family. The emergency doctor requests the help of a specialist and together they determine that it is not an aneurysm, not lymphoma and it is probably just a cyst or swollen lymph node. They send me home with a request for an ultrasound and a referral for an ear, nose and throat specialist.

14 July, 2005

A Lump

I feel a lump in my neck in the shower. It's about half the size of a golf ball and it's right above my left collarbone. I call my family doctor but can't get in for another week so I decide to try to get to a walk-in clinic over the next couple days.