For months I had been having trouble breathing and started coughing so hard that I would violently throw up. It started to get worse and worse. I went to my doctor to get a chest X-ray and within an hour he had called me and told me to get to the ER because my right lung was collapsing and filling with fluid. This was after months of him telling me it was allergies or asthma and I kept telling him it was something worse and he wouldn’t do anything until I forced him to order me the chest X-ray.
When I was in the ER I received a Chest CT and they confirmed the diagnosis that my doctor had told me. However, they also found the cause of all of this. A large mass/tumor in the middle of my chest, causing damage to my lung. The moment the ER doctor said the words “Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” I lost it. This is exactly what my Mom had when I was two years old and all of her horror stories of her cancer journey flooded into my brain. I was all alone at college 2,000+ miles from any family. I was transferred to TMC and spent 5 days in the hospital receiving multiple CT scans and X-rays. I also had a needle biopsy performed right next to my heart to confirm that it was Hodgkins. When I was being discharged, I was told that the insurance that I had was a preventative care plan and would not cover anything. I have never been more stressed in my life. Finally after about a month I got accepted for Medicaid and started my treatment journey.
I got my port and a pet scan and then 8 treatments of ABVD chemotherapy. I shocked my doctor and nurses with how well I did throughout my entire chemo treatments. Within a month and a half of treatment the tumor had shrunk from 11ish cm to 1 by 3 cm. I have now finished chemo and the pet scans show that there is no activity. I will receive 20 treatments (4 weeks) of radiation and then hopefully be done!
I am so beyond grateful for my diagnosis because it taught me so much about myself that I had no idea and it gave me a whole new perspective on life. The crazy part is that I was diagnosed 9/30/22 and my Mom 10/24/03 (19 years apart). We both had Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage II and in generally the same area of the body/neck. Both of our stories were close to identical and the weird part is that this cancer is not genetic; hence the craziness of this happening.