i don't even know where to begin. the "beginning" seems a distant nightmare away that i wonder when i will awake from. in a matter of weeks, i've been put on a speeding train on my way to my new reality; cancer. i received the diagnosis of hodgkin's lymphoma on july 8th after many doctor's visit's, examinations, breathing tests, numerous blood tests, a CAT scan and finally a biopsy of my lymph node in my groin which confirmed the results. my world was turned upside down, and now i have to learn how to live my best life in this way...my new "normality".
every doctor i spoke with (i have access to some of the best), told me that having hodgkin's disease is "good news", because this is one type of cancer that is completely treatable and beatable. ok, so now I know i won't die from this, but i still have some anxieties about the long treatment road ahead. treatment will consist of receiving chemotherapy once every two weeks for six months. the first question i asked the doc is "will i lose my hair?", his reply was "yes, but it will grow back". i quickly was made to realize through the help of a wonderful, loving partner and friends that vanity has no place on the road to healing...there will most certainly be physical changes and i have to deal with them in order to get better, which is the priority.
there was and is so much to process and to prepare for the next six months or so. i had to inform my family, and my job whose full support i have. actually, the support from everyone i've notified thus far has been overwhelming; the outpouring of love, very palpable. i had another surgical procedure only last night to place a port in my chest where the doctor will be administering my chemo in 3-5 hour sessions. post-op pain produced a restless night's sleep, but that is the least of it. next week, i'm scheduled to have a piece of my bone marrow taken from my hip to determine what stage i'm at, and finally, my chemotherapy is scheduled to begin on July 28th.
Self-portrait--Port placed in my chest for chemotherapy administration.
i have so many thoughts, too many crashing together at once. in the meantime, i'm trying to remain and appear "normal", but that effort is becoming futile as i pull all my energies together to prepare for the uphill battle ahead. i'm tired, shocked, and saddened but in the midst of all this i remain encouraged. i've been educating myself about hodkin's, reading other survivor stories and looking into support groups, both on-line and off. my experience in the medical field and working closely with patient's in similar situations, has helped me to get a grip on things to realize that "this too shall pass". Six months later, i'm hoping this will all be over and the nightmare will be behind me.
i will hold on to my creativity as a source of strength to get me through the days ahead. my partner gave me a beautiful leatherbound journal to jot my thoughts, fears and experiences down in. i hope to have it in me to fully document my experiences as a means of healing. i will fight, and i will come out a champion. it's taken me a few days to decide how public to become with this. i'm doing so, because in the same way i've read other stories from survivor's for sources of encouragement and inspiration, i hope to do the same for someone. receiving a cancer diagnosis of any kind is definitely a head trip--the emotional fallout is vast. i also choose to be public about this because hodgkin's disease is nothing to be ashamed of, it is simply living another temporary reality. I also didn't want gossip or speculation to begin about me: (Why is Ocean losing weight? Why is he bald?, why does he look sickly?) People mean well, but I also know some who can't help themselves. i am in the driver's seat with this disease. I will be in control. if i hid and isolated myself, i would only grow depressed, weary and withdrawn, none of which are ingredients for achieving and winning the fight.
i have so much to do, so much to plan, while dealing with all the confusion this recent diagnosis has brought on. I do want to give thanks in advance for all the love and support i've already gotten from family members, friends and even total strangers. humanity has a way of showing the side that resides in the light during the darkest times. I am not a victim and i do believe higher power will favor me throughout this ordeal.
Self-portrait. After my successful treatment, I plan to be CANCER - FREE!