Back Story: For the most part, I am a pretty healthy guy, but around June in 2010, I noticed some lumps on my left shoulder. I did not think too much about it and went on without much concern. About a month later, as the rafting season slowed a bit, I made an appointment with a local doctor. Between making and going to the appointment, I got really sick with Flu like symptoms: no energy and bed sweats, but without the fever or stomach issues. It seemed mono-like. I was feeling better when I met with the doctor, but she was very concerned with the lumps and sent me to get a chest x-ray and blood tests. The blood came back fine though a little anemic (lack of Iron) and the chest X-ray showed enlarged lymph nodes in my chest.
My doctor then sent me to Salt Lake City to get a biopsy of the lumps. Two weeks later I got the phone call no one wants . I had Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma, which used to be called Hodgkin's Disease. It's the same thing hockey player Mario Lemieux had, so guess my hockey career is over
Hodgkins is the more rare form of Lymphoma, but is also the more treatable kind. It is a very common cancer in people in my age group. It has an over 90% cure rate.
In late August I went back to SLC to get the final testing done. PET scan(tracks a radioactive sugar throughout your body to see where the cancer is at) CAT scan, Chest xray, blood work, breathing tests (side effect of my chemo might be some lung scaring) and heart tests.
I met with my Oncology doctor, Dr. Prystas, who came highly recommend from a very good friend. We went over all the different elements, treatments and timetables. With help from friends, I had done a fair amount of research and had a pretty good idea of what the treatments would look like and had resigned myself to that I would at least have to do Chemo. I was very excited at the time that I did not have to do Radiation or Surgery. Things have since changed and I will likely have to have radiation or a bone marrow transplant.
I was diagnosed in stage 3b. That sounds worse then it is. It just means cancer was found in three sections of my body on both sides of the diaphragm. It is still all in the lymph system though, which is good. I did not have what they call "bulky" or big lymph's. My blood work showed that my body was doing a decent job of fighting the cancer. This I attribute to recommendations from cancer surviving friends that helped change my diet right away: NO alcohol, and a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables along with a new regimen of vitamins.
I started my chemo in late August. It was a very light and effective dose. I learned that Chemo is just a general term and that there are thousands of different types, dosages and regimens. I was on a "pretty easy" one because of the curableness of the cancer I have. The type of Chemo is ABVD, with each letter standing for some drug I could not remember even if I wrote it down.
The treatments took about 2 hours each time, and were administered in the Doctor's Office, not the hospital. The room is SWEET with a lazy boy and TV and DVDS, it's like being in a living room. The whole staff is wonderful and really nice.