If you are reading this, you most likely read my Facebook or Twitter post and clicked on the link. You read correctly: I have cancer. I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Yes, my hair is going to fall out. Yes, I’m going to have chemo (but hopefully minus a lot of the kissing the toilet time- yay Zofran!). Yes, I’m going to kick it’s ass.
The good news: Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a very treatable cancer. Upwards of 90% of young patients go into complete remission. I am getting treated in Boston which has some of the best hospitals and cancer centers in the world. While I chose to go to a smaller cancer center rather than one of the big hospitals, if there are any complications I can easily be transferred to Mass General Hospital (#6 cancer center in the country).
The bad news: Since the cancer was already pretty widespread by the time they caught it, including possible spread to the bone (have some more tests this afternoon to get the final say), I have a really long bout with chemo. I will most likely have chemo for 6 to 8 months, or 2 months after my last clean PET scan. This means I will spend every other Friday hooked up to machines getting my chemo cocktail for 4 to 6 hours. On the “off” Fridays, I will need to go to the hospital to have my blood counts checked. I might have to go the day after chemo to get a shot to boost my blood cell counts by overstimulating bone marrow.
In short, I will need a lot of help in the next year or so. I have decided not to go back to Georgia because a) my health insurance is tied to my employment, b) working provides a critical emotional and self-worth outlet that I would not get if I was staying at my parents’ house moping, and c) the greatest concentration of my friends is here in New England. That does mean that I don’t have my parents’ physical support. If you live near me, please check out the “What You Can Do” tab at the top. In short, I really need help with rides getting to and from appointments (between home, the hospital, and work). Since I don’t have a car and public transportation takes way too long (2 hours yesterday to get the 3 miles from work to the hospital), getting rides to and from appointments is currently one of my biggest stressors. I might need help doing simple things like laundry, cooking, etc etc. My chemo treatments are on Fridays so if you are in the area and want to keep me company, swing on by.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. I have been overly open with everyone about what I’m going through and plan to continue doing so. Also, please leave comments so I know people are reading!
Let’s kick cancer’s ass.