For those of you who are new readers, these are ongoing journal entries of a courageous and inspiring woman named Eva. She has overcome enormous odds, lived/traveled all over the world and is currently battling Hodgkins Lymphoma. These are 3 entries she wrote from her day of diagnosis through her first experience with chemo…enjoy :)
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Well, there it was, today. I was moved to Calvary Hospital. I get moved here and start losing it in the car almost immediately. I was being childish and plain rude. I could see the way I was behaving but had no desire to change it. I was happy to rest in the fact I had every right to be chucking a tantrum. A lady came in and introduced herself as the hospital doctor. She sat down and explained that my behaviour and reactions were the result of the drugs I had been given to stop inflammation. She said the drugs have a mildly psychotic effect when given in doses (mildly??) and that they prevent sleep (surprise, surprise – I slept one hour last night). Then she went on to talk about the effect that sleep deprivation has on behaviour and mental state. She left the room to find out some information from the oncologist doctor. When she came back she asked me if I wanted to hear what she had to say (obviously without mum or dad in the room) of course I said yes. I was just watching her face because I knew what was coming next when she described that she only had a name of the cancer. She said it was a Hodgkins lymphoma (of some bumpy type). Note; no ‘non’. I lost it.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 So here I am. 2.00pm and my first bout of chemo. Watching the red coloured liquid seep into the flush fluid of the intravenous tubing was a sobering and monumental experience. Tears sprang immediately as the gravity of what I was starting sank in. It’s flushing again and the second part of the chemo will begin soon. I am beyond words. This is the beginning of my recovery.
Thursday, April 16 2009 They told me if I want to stay in hospital I can. This is heartening news. I really like the atmosphere of being looked after and have to admit the thought of going back to my lonely little flat daunting. Meeting with the Hematologist. I have what is known as ‘Modular Sclerosing Hodgkins Lymphoma’. He estimated it to be at Stage 3 A however the exact extent of it will not be known until a bone marrow assessment is done. (Not to be done – it will not effect the course of treatment in any case) This will show if it has indeed spread to the bone marrow. In any case, this will not affect the course of treatment. When I saw Dr. Patterson, the Oncologist, he went so far as to diagnose it at the Stage 4 level. The treatment shall consist of ABVD Chemotherapy. He was very encouraging regarding this and emphasised that the risk of loss of fertility using this chemo would only be 5-10%. Funny how I never really wanted kids before this.
This is granted the chemo will work. It is to be issued once every 2 weeks, on the 1st and 15th day of the month for approximately 6 months. He said it may take 8 sessions, it may need 12. After 2 months a full assessment of the disease and the response to the treatment will occur. If it is (as expected) to be going well, in other words if the tumour is breaking up and shrinking, the ABVD will continue to the end. However, if it is not being successful there is another course of Chemo that can be taken. This one’s name begins with a B but he didn’t write it down here. It sounds scary. There will be next to no chance of me still being fertile afterward and it is much more intense and taxing upon the body. However, it would be expected to be successful.
After the treatment he explained that the chemo should shrink it to a small mass. However, if it remains to be a lump measuring bigger than 10 cms in diameter they will blast it with Radiotherapy in order to make sure there are no active nodules left inside it. In fact, I think Radiotherapy would take place regardless. He went on to explain the huge leaps that have occurred with this treatment and that Hodgkins used to be treated with Radiotherapy alone. He explained that the lump does not and will not encapsulate any organs. Keep checking back here each week for new entries from Eva…