In 1997, it all started with a lump on the back of my neck, which I dismissed as nothing more than a swollen gland. When it was still there three months later, however, I asked my primary care physician to check it out during a routine physical. He did so and said, “Well, you look pretty fit and nothing else seems out of order, so let’s wait.” In 2000, after two bouts of shingles and onset of night sweats, blood tests were ordered, which showed evidence of Epstein-Barr virus, but not much else. Since the node had increased in size, a local surgeon excised it and sent the specimen for Removal of a small piece of tissue for evaluation under a microscope. “to put my mind at ease.” He was as shocked as I was when the results came back with the diagnosis of small lymphocytic lymphoma or SLL, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“I spent several days under the covers feeling emotionally numb and paralyzed.”
Initially devastated, I spent several days under the covers feeling emotionally numb and paralyzed, convinced I should begin writing my obituary (mostly to be sure that there would be no grammatical or spelling errors). That was almost 12 years ago. The obituary is not yet written. I’ve been too busy.
As a nurse with decades of hospital and Abnormal cell growth that cannot be controlled by the body's natural defenses. Cancerous cells can grow and eventually form tumors. care experience, I was well-acquainted with area oncologists. I ultimately chose one who is a close friend, with the second-opinion approval of a well-known specialist at a university medical center. Although tests showed my disease to be The extent of cancer in the body, including whether the disease has spread from the original site to other body parts. Through the vein., we still decided that “watchful waiting” was the best option for me. That approach worked for years, but then a series of severe infections and appearance of an Lymphomas that are fast growing and generally need to be treated immediately. Also called intermediate-grade or high-grade lymphomas. skin cancer required a new direction.
A Computed tomography (CT). This imaging test provides a series of detailed picutres of inside the body using an X-ray machine linked to a computer. scan showed significant advancement of disease and blood tests confirmed onset of chronic lymphocytic Disease generally characterized by the overproduction of abnormal or immature white blood cells that circulate or are present in the blood. (CLL). I was prescribed a course of treatment which studies had shown to be highly effective in such cases, even though I was older than recommended. It was tough, but between excellent symptom management and my strict compliance with instructions, I tolerated it well and had a complete response. In addition, after years of unsuccessful entreaties to have our master bath re-designed and renovated, I recognized the timing was perfect to convince an anxious husband that he could boost my morale and provide a useful distraction by saying yes to such a project while I was on treatment. This time he gave in easily, and the splendid outcome matches my regained good health. This is an excellent example of finding opportunity even in the most difficult of circumstances.
“Even though there is no way to determine how long my The absence of disease. Remission does not necessarily indicate that a person is cured. Patients may have complete or partial remission. will last, I stay current regarding emerging treatment options that may help when the disease recurs.”
I am now cancer-free. Even though there is no way to determine how long my remission will last, I stay current regarding emerging treatment options that may help when the disease recurs. Presently, I am fully active and engaged in multiple family, social, charitable and community activities. While conscious of the perils of my diagnosis, I more fully cherish each moment of my life and every person in it. For me and my family, this disease has ended up to be a blessing in disguise. We have become even closer, and instead of “sweating the small stuff”, are learning to make the best of the hand we’re dealt. When we embrace life, most of the time it hugs us back warmly. I found that feeling sorry for myself simply leaves me less time for that embrace.