Monday, April 10, 2017

Not Necessarily Bad News; Not Necessarily Good News

My last post was almost a year ago.  It was on the third anniversary of when I received my initial diagnosis of Stage I Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  A few months after that (October 2016) I had a routine follow-up with my oncologist - all good news.  Blood work was normal and she found no enlarged lymph nodes upon a physical exam... officially 3 years remission.

Fast forward to today, when I had another follow-up appointment.  Unfortunately, this time my my bloodwork was off.  My sedimentation rate - which is explained here, was elevated.  The normal range is 0-20 for a woman of my age.  My past tests have all been well within the normal range (usually around 10) but this time that number is 33.  There are a few reasons reasons this number could be elevated, but a high sedimentation rate can be an indicator of a relapse of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which is why it is of concern.  Boo.


While this is all somewhat scary, the positive is that there is a decent chance that this could be an anomaly or a false positive as a result of the lab taking too long to do the test after the blood was drawn (I'm trusting my oncologist on this one - I can't find any sources online to back this up).  I have no other symptoms, although I didn't have any symptoms when I was initially diagnosed, so it's hard to say that that's any indicator.  My oncologist could not feel any enlarged lymph nodes, so that's good, too.

So at this point, the plan is to redo that blood test and if the number comes back high again, we'll schedule a CT scan.  If the number comes back normal, we will assume all is good and I won't see my oncologist again for another 6 months.

My oncologist is contacting the lab where I had my blood work done to see if she can get an idea of what their procedure is on this test.  She may have me go to a hospital for the test, so they can do the test "STAT" - meaning within 2 hours of the blood draw.  I should hear from her tomorrow and get instructions on when/where to have this test redone.  Unfortunately, I'm traveling all week for work, so getting this blood work done may end up being delayed if she wants me to go somewhere specific.  Boo again.

Right now I'm remaining hopeful that this is either an anomaly or a lab error.  My oncologist says that is more likely than not the case, so that's what I'm focused on.  I will gladly take all the positive thoughts, prayers, etc. that you're willing to throw my way.  I will be sure to keep you posted in the upcoming weeks.

Love,
Melissa

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