Dealing with Recurrence
Happy spring everyone! I’m back from my hiatus..sort of. I mean, I definitely have more time on my hands, and I figure this might be the best way to offer insight into what I’ve been dealing with the past two months.
When I left you on my hiatus, I was working almost 30 hours a week at Liven Up Health and Fitness and trying to keep up with college classes. I was taking on more responsibilities at work, including managing their blog and doing marketing and promotional work for them. On February 11th, I was officially rediagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
I knew something was off with my body because my primary symptom, chronic systemic itching, was back. I called the doctor, had blood work done, and had a PET scan. By february 11th, the results were in and my doctor informed me of the treatment plan. It was supposed to be 3-4 rounds of intense ICE chemo, followed by a stem cell transplant.
For the transplant, I had to choose a major hospital to do it wih, so I chose Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, NY.
Here I am, getting a pedicure, after one treatment of ICE at St. Lukes in Behlehem, and one augmented ICE treatment at MSK. The second one was ROUGH. I even got sick in the hospital, which I hadn’t done from any of my other chemo treatments. That was just last week – I was in the hospital from Monday to Thursday. On Tuesday, they took my port out, and on Wednesday, they put a catheter in my chest so they can collect my stem cells.
Every day for the past week, I have to give myself 2 injections of Neupogen at home so that my stem cells will be present in my blood, instead of staying in my bone marrow.
I’m heading into NY from sunday til tuesday or Wednesday for the stem cell collection, then again the week after for another PET scan. If that scan shows no evidence of disease, I’ll be good to go for my stem cell transplant. For that, I’ll have to stay in the hospital for 3.5 to 4 weeks because my immune system will be starting from zero.
Trust me, trying to wrap my head around all of the treatments I’ve got ahead of me is like going to school. Speaking of which, I thought I could stay up to date with everything, but I can’t. The timing of this diagnosis couldn’t be more off. So I’m looking into a medical withdrawal, but unfortunately, the Department of Education doesn’t distinguish between a medical withdrawal and a regular withdrawal..causing me to lose out on the several thousand dollars in financial aid loans. I’m..trying to figure that out. I’m in the process of applying to ESU so I can continue and finish my exercise science degree when this is all over.
I haven’t been working since late February, but I have been trying to keep up with the blogging and digital marketing for work.
I’m feeling a lot better from last week’s round of chemo, but the neupogen injections are starting to give me bone pain.
There are, however, some positive things to come out of this – thanks to Whitney D’Errico. She is not only my boss, but she is a mentor, a role model, and an inspiration to me. Because of my rediagnosis, she is starting a nonprofit foundation called the Work It Out foundation, to help not only me it many others in any kind of struggle they may be in, using fitness, nutrition, and other aspects of wellness. We’ve filmed some videos which will all be debuted on April 18th at the Broadway Social from 1 to 3 pm. I’ll post something about that on facebook. The day before, I have been asked to speak at the Relay for Life event at DeSales University. I could not be more honored and thrilled to be able to share my story and inspire and help others in any way possible.
My first diagnosis was an awakening to change the course of my life, and this recurrence is a second awakening further directing me to where I’m supposed to be in life. While my success train may be temporarily derailed, it is getting some serious upgrades in the body shop. Stay tuned for updates!!!