May 13, 2013: Lump discovered
I'm not sure how I noticed it, but at some point I felt a lump on the left side of my neck. I looked in the mirror and HOLY MOLY I could actually SEE a large lump in my neck! Off to the internet I went... WebMD says it's probably an infection, but see your doctor if the swelling lasts more than a few weeks.
|I know this picture is kinda creepy with my creepy eyes, but you can see the swelling in my neck (my left side). It looks like my head is tilted to the side, but it's not. This picture was taken about 2 weeks before my diagnosis.|
It was awesome. Lump didn't go away.
May 30, 2013: 1st Doctors Appointment
Doctor confirms it's probably just an infection and puts me on antibiotics for 10 days. She also recommended an ultrasound since I have a history of thyroid issues.
May 31, 2013: Ultrasound complete
Ultrasound shows the lymph node is severely enlarged and measuring 4.5 cm by 6 cm (which is apparently HUGE!). Doctor wants to keep me on antibiotics and see if that does the trick.
June 11, 2013: 2nd Doctors Appointment
I admit... I procrastinated a tad in making this follow up appointment. I was convinced the lymph node was getting smaller and wanted to give it a few more days. My husband finally forced me to face the fact that it wasn't and the antibiotics weren't working. Doctor recommends a CT scan.
June 20, 2013: CT Scan
For the record, CT scans are unpleasant. Not the worst thing in the world but that contrast dye is not fun. CT results came in a few days later and aren't conclusive other than showing the lymph node is the same size it was when the ultrasound was done. Doctor recommends a biopsy.
June 28, 2013: Biopsy
For the record, a biopsy of your neck is also unpleasant. I was being a "tough guy" and did it without any sedative - just local anesthetic... bad idea. I could actually hear the needle being jammed through my neck muscle..... 4 times. Eww. Biopsy results come in after 10 grueling days. Results are atypical, but not enough cells were extracted to get an accurate reading. Doctor recommends removing the lymph node.
July 17, 2013: Surgery
I met with the surgeon and scheduled surgery. The procedure was less than an hour long and I was in and out of the hospital in just a few hours. The lymph node ended up being too large to remove, so they took a large chunk of it to be tested. Overall I wasn't too sore and was back at work the next day. Results can take 7-10 days, so more waiting......
|After surgery with bandages still on. Those bandages were the itchiest things in the world!|
|1 day after the itchy bandages came off. Not bad, huh?|
The nurse called me on July 23 and asked if I could come to the office to review my results. I was out of town for work and couldn't make it back in time that day. The doctor was out of the office the next day, so I had to wait until the 25th. My husband Josh came with me and after the longest 2 days of my life, finally met with the doctor. She informed me that I have Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I should meet with the oncologist tomorrow and figure out where we go from here. The doctor thinks I'm still in the early stages, which means my treatment should be easier and the prognosis for a full recovery is good. I'm still trying to process everything, it still doesn't feel completely real. But my spirits are high and my outlook is positive and I WILL beat this!