22 February, 2012

Hey friends! I know it's been awhile since I've updated my blog, but a million things have been happening in my life! Let me give you just a little overview...

I started feeling sick on New Year's Day and in the middle of January, noticed I had a swollen lymph node by my collar bone. I went to a few different doctors who finally decided that I needed to have the lymph node removed so they could look inside it to see what was making me feel sick. So, on February 1st, I went into surgery for a biopsy of my left supraclavicular lymph node.

Right before my lymph node biopsy...
gotta love the hospital fashion!

Like good parents, mine were freaking out. They decided to come to Atlanta for a visit and to be with me when I received the results from my biopsy. I am so thankful they came because, on February 6th, my surgeon called and said that examination of my lymph node revealed that I have Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

As a family, we decided the best thing for me would be to return home to San Diego and begin treatment as soon as possible. So, I quit my job. I had a farewell lunch at the office, spent 5 hours teaching my dear friend (and coworker) Katherine as much as I could about my job, then said goodbye to all my wonderful coworkers at the Georgia Justice Project. Throughout the week, I met with a few good friends to talk and say goodbye. I packed up all my stuff and loaded it in my car. Luckily, my roommates Joe and Maria offered to drive my car across the country for me! What a blessing! I can't tell you how thankful I am!! On Saturday, some good friends from church threw me a sweet going away party. It was a week of lots of laughter and lots of tears.

On February 12th, I moved back to San Diego.

My roommates Joe and Maria,
who spent a few days with us after driving
my car from Atlanta to San Diego.

My first week back, I went to the doctor's office every single day. So far, I've had two different blood tests, a CT scan, a PET scan, and a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. I've met more doctors and nurses than I can count, and I've been poked and prodded left and right. I have a few more tests next week, but I am glad to announce that we are finally getting somewhere! My PET and CT scans allowed my doctor to see that the cancer is in my chest and neck, which is the most common place for this type of cancer. My doctor isn't yet positive what stage cancer I have (I'll get those results on March 1st), but she's pretty sure it's stage II, which is good because it means it hasn't spread throughout my body. We're not positive yet, but the plan right now is to start chemotherapy sometime in the beginning of March.

At first, I had trouble understanding exactly what lymphoma is. It's not something like lung cancer, which is obviously in the lungs. I did some infallible research (through google and wikipedia, of course), which helped me to understand things better. If you are interested in understanding more about Hodgkin's, the best resource for me was this online booklet called What You Need to Know About Hodgkin Lymphoma. Hodgkin's Lymphoma is considered one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Different sites say different things, but all of them show a survival rate of higher than 90%, and most show higher than 95%. And according to my friend in med school, all of her medical books say it has an "excellent" prognosis.

The lymphatic system.
My cancer is near the thymus and in my neck.
It would be much more serious if it was above
and below the diaphragm, but mine is good
because it's just above.

Physically, I've been feeling perfectly normal, except I get a little more tired than usual. I have been a little bit overwhelmed with everything, just because it's a lot to take in all at once: quitting my job, saying goodbye to a bunch of dear friends, leaving Atlanta, and moving back in with my parents... not to mention actually having cancer. But I truly feel at peace about everything. I know that God is in complete control of my life and am confident that He will make good out of this not-so-good situation. And everyone has been so kind and encouraging! I just want to say thank you to everyone! And please keep me in your prayers!


"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You.
When I was made in secret,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are Your thoughts about me, oh God.
They cannot be numbered.
If I should count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
And when I awake, You are still with me."
Psalm 139:13-18

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