I did not count on carrying the title of Cancer patient. A future Cancer survivor or anything else that might have to do with the big C. If you hadn't heard already I was diagnosed at the beginning of March with stage 1 lymphoma. It was aggressive and began in a lymph node on the left side of my neck. I had noticed it at Christmas as a little pea size hard place that was growing and I went through a string of Doctors to figure out what was happening.
At this age I had been told to worry about cholesterol, blood pressure, being overweight. I had began working on that in August having lost 44 pounds since then. Blood pressure was fine and the DL's were dropping. The thing is we don't always get to have a perfect life. Sometimes there are curve balls and you just hope that you pay attention enough to catch it early. The tumor is confined to my neck and highly treatable.
My oncologist has started me on chemo. Every three weeks, I get pumped full of toxic chemicals that attack and kill the tumor. After getting bigger than a dove bar, the first round has greatly reduced its size. The second round coming up promises to be even more harsh and really take this thing to task.
Why am I finally blogging about this? I have an amazing support system. They deserve some recognition and now that my hair is shedding like a Husky in a Florida summer. I thought I should give my supporters their due.
Mom and Dad have been here since early March. Mom has been handling the paperwork and appointments. She helps keep me squared away with the meds, cleans at home and occasionally cooks a meal. I frustrate and anger her at times. I have been on my own for so long that I often find it hard to let her help. The pills I take to counter act side effects often leave me in a curmudgeonly mood that she recognizes and tells me to go to bed. Dad has been her able bodied helper and driver. He white-knuckles us through Houston traffic when I am unable to drive or if I am at work and they are getting some groceries. They have both been absolutely sent from heaven.
The ABN Crew, Suzy, Kelley, Akilah, Michaelann, and Kim. These coworkers have worked to help me arrange my busy schedule so that when I feel better I can work and if I am down for a few days someone can step in. ABN looks after the network as well as their individual schools all while we get ready for the run for the summer rush to produce a number of training videos for the start of next year. Their dedication and hard work has been amazing. Brad Kaplan, Matt Tomaselli, Brian Kennedy, Chad Cochran, and Meredith McCune check on me and do obnoxious things to lift my spirit. I can't post what they did with the Aldine Inspire letters and sent me a picture of. If you look at Inspire and make a dirty word you get the idea. This still makes me laugh. I was at home watching the broadcast and got a good belly laugh from their after action pic.
Dr. Ptomey, Sean O'Dea, Jacob Mitchell, Aunt Shirley, Aunt Lynn and Uncle Curt, my awesome cousins, all of whom have had cancer touch their lives. They have shared their knowledge, experiences and followed up with phone calls, Facetime, and a bunch of cards. They remind me that I am not alone.
I have five more sessions and the Doctor is highly encouraged that this will be cured at the end. If so I will be a lucky one. Many are not often as lucky as I am. I am with you in this fight (Stout, Allison and others) Drop me a line if you want to talk. We can share stories of hair loss, steroids and the crazy side effects. Cause in the end, Eff Cancer!