Theres a knock at the door…”We have the lymph node biopsy scheduled for you in 3 hours, another CT Scan scheduled for you later tonight, and a Bone Marrow Biopsy in the morning.” Kind of ironic the whole thing..I go my whole 26 years of life not even needing to give blood or have an IV and here I am not even in the hospital for 24 hours getting every test in the book. First up, the lymphnode biopsy. They take me down to a new floor I haven’t seen before in a huge fancy wheel chair. I get to the room and they explain the procedure to me, and we get started. They numb you as if you’re at the dentist and you’re about to get a cavity filled. They then take this syringe looking thing to collect lymph nodes to hopefully test for cancer. The test itself wasn’t bad at all minus the loud clicking sound you hear when they get the sample. The whole procedure took about 20 minutes. Back to room 310 I go. Three hours later and what’s next for me is another CT scan, but this time of the lower part of my body to check to make sure the potential cancer hasn’t spread. The CT Scan was a piece of cake besides the liquid once again that makes you feel as if you peed your pants, but other than that I’m glad to be done with tests for the night. “Not allowed to have food or liquids after midnight” the sign across my door as I head back into my room. This next biopsy is giving me all the anxiety. I have to be sedated, and too be honest I’m not quite sure what to expect. It’s the morning of the bone marrow biopsy and I have so much anxiety because of all the things I’ve heard about the pain afterwards and being sedated. Also mixing anxiety with the fact that I haven’t had anything to eat or drink in hours is making me beyond nausuas. Which results in me getting sick right before heading down to the surgical room, so the nurse gives me anti nausua medicine and I finally get my anxiety under control. They pull me into the room, explain the procedure, and sedate me (somewhat) I am still awake and can hear everything that’s going on. I feel the numbing shot and then I hear scraping, and it’s over. That wasn’t nearly half as bad as I anticipated but I definitely am sore right in that area. They take me back to my room and for the next week everything becomes so routine and such a blur. I have no idea what day of the week it is or the date, but I do know that 9 am is my first med, 11 am is my injection, 12 pm is lunch, 1 pm is vitals, 7 pm is shift change, and 10 pm is sleeping meds and cough syrup. That’s my schedule for the next week until we get the final results from the biopsy’s.
The first lymph node test was inconclusive which means no good or bad news, it’s as if there was no news at all. Two days later we get the results from the bone marrow biopsy, and it’s officially Hodgkins Lymphoma..
Hodgkins Lymphoma for those of you who don’t know is a cancer of the lymphatic system where the cells grow abnormally and spread. There isn’t a known cause for my specfic cancer but I am diagnosed Stage IIB. Stage IIB is when the cancer is in 2 or more lymph node regions on the same side of the diaphragm. The cancer involves 1 organ and it’s regional lymph node area. In my case the organ affected is my lungs unfortunately. The B aspect of this cancer is the symptoms I suffered from which included fevers, night sweats, and unexpected weight loss.
During this time the only people who were aware of the fact that I was in the hospital were my husband, his mother, and my work. I had the highest hopes that I just had an infection and I wouldn’t have to deal with anything else, but I was wrong. The word cancer had become real, and now I have to break the news to my family and friends. For those of you who know me you know my family is unfortunately no stranger to the word cancer. My mom is a breast cancer survivor for over 14 years now, and we lost my grandpa, grandma, and uncle to cancer. My doctors explain to me that this cancer has a high success rate of going away after treatment, and I have extremely good chances. He tells me that they have me scheduled to have a port put into me where I can receive my treatments as opposed to getting an IV everytime I’m at the hopstial. I will receive 12 treatments in the time span of 6 months, and then we will go from there. On top of the word cancer I am also told that my fertility and abiliity to have children could be at stake because of the chemotherapy. He tells me I will talk to a fertility specialist, and most likely be injected with a certain drug that basically hibernates my ovaries in hopes of protecting them from the chemo. I am listening to what he is saying but inside I honestly just want to crawl into a hole and have a much needed mental breakdown, but I don’t.
A couple days go by and we talk to the fertility specialist and she explains to me that my dosage of chemo is low to moderate risk, so there’s a chance I could be okay without needing the help. She tells me she will start the medication to protect my ovaries and goes over our options for when my treatment is completed, and I feel a sense of relief.
Today is the day I receive my port, and I’m nervous because I have no idea what a “port” really is or what the procedure even consists of. They take me down to this surgical room and a nurse comes out, and actually tells me his story of how he survived Hodgkins Lymhpoma and he knows i’ll kick it’s ass too which was extremely comforting. He then shows me the port which is this little triangle device with a little tube attached and then tells me about the procedure. They creat a small incision to insert the port and then feed the tube down a few inches where they place the actual port just underneath the skin and then stitch it back up. I was sedated during this procedure as well so I luckily didn’t feel anything, but it was extremely sore afterwards and the feeling of having something underneath your skin was definitely interesting to get used to, but at this point nothing surprises me anymore. Now that I have my port I am just waiting on my insurance to approve my chemotherapy and I can begin my long hard road to recovery.
Until Next Time…
XOXO Bechtold Badass