Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's Lymphoma?!

When I felt a lump on the right side of my neck, I didn't think much of it. Numerous people told me I probably was just swollen from a cold I had previously or maybe I even had a slight thyroid problem. I let it go and tried to forget about it, but the lump didn't go away, in fact it got larger. 
After biting the bullet and getting over my procrastination, I saw a local family practitioner, who sent me to have an ultra sound of my neck, but got no real answers there.
Three months later on October 2nd, 2011, I was suffering from a high fever, and by this time the lump in my neck was pressing so hard on my throat that I could barely breathe. Still not thinking the worse, I assumed I had pneumonia. After consulting my fiance we decided that I would go to the hospital.
There at the hospital they gave me the run-around. 'Yes you have a fever, but no pneumonia, maybe you just need to rest?' Like they thought I knew what was going on? Four hours later just laying there in the hospital bed, and the doctors just wanting to send me home, I put my foot down and proclaimed, 'There has to be something wrong with me, why do I have this lump and why cant I breathe?!!'
Soon after that they gave me a chest x-ray. I watched as the doctors face went blank as they stared at the image from across the room.

'Cierra, have you heard of Lymphoma?'
'No, What is that? Is that what you get when you smoke? I have never smoked!'
'No, that's not what this is. Maybe you should do some research on it."

With this vague answer, (and thank god for smart phones!), It was determined and backed up with a CT scan that I had Lymphoma, A type of blood cancer which attacks your lymphatic system. Going from thinking I had pneumonia to Cancer was extremely shocking and seemed unreal.The next week they took a biopsy of the mass in my neck which was sent to UCSF medical center and declared Hodgkins Lymphoma. Because I had masses in my neck and a large mass which consumed 3/4 of my chest internally and classic symptoms such as night sweats, fever, and a rash, I was stage 2B. Then, the fun began!

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