Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stage 2!

Okay this week is finally over! After 6 doctors appointments/surgeries/tests in 4 days, Derek and I are very, very glad that this week has finally ended.

Tuesday I had my first ultrasound. Woo! Not exactly the regular circumstances for an ultrasound, because it was actually to check out my heart, not my belly (also, there is nothing going on in my belly, if you were wondering. No way José). I got an echocardiogram, which is the fancy name for heart ultrasound. Very cool.

Wednesday was my PET/CT scan, which was also very cool and somewhat intense. I had to fast beforehand, and this—in addition to it being that time of month—made me pretty weak by the time I got to the hospital. I had to give blood via finger prick, which I got very lightheaded for and actually had to be pricked twice because not enough blood was coming out. Following that mildly unpleasant scenario, I was shuffled to a little room where they then hooked me up to a mini-IV thing, but when they pricked my left arm, I once again almost passed out and my vein closed up. So into the other arm we go!

After the IV was in, they plugged in the radioactive liquid-sugar stuff for a minute or two, and then I got to go take a nap for 90 minutes and drink raspberry lemonade with contrast (it helps your intestines and stomach show up in the scans by dyeing your intestinal lining) which is not very delicious. It tasted like sticky-sweet kid medicine. After napping with some heating pads and a papery pillow, I was awakened, and beckoned into the room with the MRI machine. For the 30 minute scan I pretty much sang Only Time by Enya over and over to keep myself distracted. During the scan itself I'm not really sure if I felt anything (like radioactive sugars dancing in my body while magnets whirled around me...) because I was already crampy, so that's how it "felt" for me.

Thursday was the bone marrow biopsy, which I had been dreading all week. From other cancer blogs, most started off the bone marrow biopsy post with things like "After the most painful surgery..." or " was unexpectedly painful..." (I didn't have the courage to read through any of the posts), so needless to say I was not looking forward to it. I did opt to be sedated, which meant yet another IV, but that's fine. I did not want to deal with a fatty needle digging into the back of my hip and sucking out bone marrow. Egh. Still gives me the creeps. Long story short, it wasn't that bad. It was a very fast surgery, my right hip has just been achy, sore and tender, and I've been limping and mosting reclining since then.

Friday Derek and I met up with our hematologist again (cancer doctor). We reviewed all of the tests, and were able to diagnose me as having (drumroll please):
Classical Hodgkin's lymphoma, Stage 2, unfavorable, non-bulky, type A. 

Yay! Stage 2 is a good place to be. The cancer hasn't spread below my diaphragm. Rather, it is growing in a lot of sites in my neck, chest, and armpits (which is "unfavorable"), but none of those sites are larger than 10 cm ("non-bulky"). And I'm a loose type A because I'm not having a ton of side effects. Type B would mean I am experiencing side effects of unexplained weight loss, night sweats, fevers and chills, but I'm only super strong on the weight loss (I have experienced the other symptoms, but not to an extreme degree).

Soooo, treatment for that is most likely going to be 6 months of ABVD chemotherapy. We are planning on starting at the end of October, because Derek and I requested that we meet with a nutritionist before we start chemo.

Also, I went in to visit a gastroenterologist this week because things have been pretty painful down there. The week after I had the biopsy on my neck I was taking narcotic meds to help ease the pain. Unfortunately, one of the side effects was severe constipation, and after a week it became excruciatingly painful to pass stools. So after that doctor's visit we decided that we will operate on the hemorrhoids to hopefully relieve the pain. That surgery is this Monday!

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