My journey - battling lymphoma

Recently I celebrated my 46th birthday. I love celebrating birthdays! Then I participated as a co-captain for our local "Quabog" Relay For Life and the Pack 57 Rocks! Cub Scout Team. This was the time frame that I had discovered an uneasiness in my stomach and growth in my spleen and stomach. After weeks of monitoring, my husband Steve took me to the doctor who felt the lumps and ordered a CT scan. The CT scan showed a massive area, my spleen enlarged to twice its size and an additional growth lower in my stomach. Next was the localized CT guided biopsy and subsequent PET scan. The biopsy showed positive for lymphoma and most likely Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma.

This is my online journal sharing my experience through battling this cancer that has abruptly entered my life for no apparent reason. The story is documented here if you want to start from the beginning, you can check the archives on the side bar.

As a top competitive master athlete this year winning my age group at the Marine Corps Marathon and placing 3rd in the New England Trail Running Championship I have been truly excited with my results of late and am a truly driven athlete. Driven by goals.... my goal right now.... to beat this "thing"!

Friday, September 3, 2010

RCHOP #3 - 1/2 way point!

Late on posting this experience, maybe because I am exhausted....  getting ready to balance Schuyler starting school, soccer practices & work deadlines... even though I have really paced myself and everyone is so understanding, the treatments are starting to wear on me.  I love the time getting Schuyler ready for school in the morning - although I am the drill sargeant mommy pushing to get him out of bed and ready.... and going to soccer is such a joy, watching him play and have fun with the friends he has grown to get to know and connect with here in Belchertown.  I love my life.  I love my community.  I love my family.  I am SO blessed.  

Vitals:  (all good)
117/60 - BP -- NORMAL
11.2 Blood Oxygen Levels (still good)
141 lbs (although I got down to 137 on our scale this week!  A little on the skinny side for me) 
63 pulse

So RCHOP #3 was a quickie (or maybe just felt like it because I slept through it!) --- they were able to get the drugs into me faster because I had no reactions the first time.  Our Dr. appointment was with Dr. Rockwell, with Dr. Mullally out of town on vacation.  She is awesome too.....  we love this place --- and would recommend it to anyone faced with a cancer diagnosis.  The office is beautifully decorated, comfortable and relaxing.  The docs are #1!  Dr. Mullally is just such a real person, smart, dedicated, caring and knowledgeble.  At the same time keeps you on target and is so encouraging.  We couldn't be happier --- crazy to say, when faced with cancer --- the sanctity of having a great doctor behind you is SO important. 

Treatment started with some Benedryl which made me drowsy and blurry -- so I couldn't work or blog or think for that matter.  Next thing I knew I was out!  Sleeping like a baby in the chair!  I haven't been sleeping well for various reasons, so maybe I really needed it this time!  Once awake I got to my Itunes, and my farming and a little work too.  :)  I take it all in small bites.  My neck gets cramped up when I am at the computer too much or I would be here more  :)  I need Karin for a massage and hopefully next week we can get that together!  :)

Before you know it it was over - 3 pm and I am out the door. The second day is the shot that has some latent side effects and we are working with Aleve & Tylenol to keep the pain away. I had all my appointments and to do list ready.  Managing the care and the multiple doctors and scans and bloodwork for the next couple weeks is a job in itself.  I have a repeat PET scan to see where we are with getting rid of this cancer -- can't wait to see those results!  Health insurance has denied our need to go to Mass General so we have been spending time with Dr. Mullally to work with his doctor contacts at Bay State to arrange my next Methatrexate treatment.  It will be inpatient and we need to set up time to consult with Dr. Mertens at Baystate Cancer Care.  We are happy that we don't have to switch all our care to Baystate and can stay with Dr. Mullally --- that was a huge concern for us!  Stress on so many levels getting this all together.  But we are "on the road" so to speak to getting it all done and... 

I am HALF way there!  
 #3 of 6 treatments means I am 1/2 way! 

Photo above:  Steve is so incredible.  At my side every step of the way, fueled with snacks, water & coffee!

This week has been challenging for me.  Running has become really tough after treatment, just exhausted and my legs feel like they weigh 100 pounds each.  My stomach is in knots and I am having a tough time breaking a 9 min / mile.  UGH. Maybe it is the predisone keeping me up not letting me sleep or just the side effects period.  : ( I have been getting out there though, and happy I have, but still getting really tired, and hope next week is better.  Chicago is less than 40 days away!  Need to make flight arrangements and my sister is putting the final touches on our costumes.  I am going to do it!   I have made my first fundraising goal of $1000 and raised that goal to 2010 -- just because it is 2010 and I think I can!  :)  So please support me if you can.  I really am so thankful and blessed for all my friends and family support.

Photo above:  Me & My Love

Photo below: 
I continue to wear
Inspirational shirt:  Mt. Washington Road Race - 7.5 miles to the top of Mt. Washington (2009)
Inspirational jacket:  Marine Corps Marathon (2009)

Ok - yes the Dr. said it is a little "freakish" pretty crazy for attempting to do this, but I am driven and all your comments and support have been so good for me to keep going.  My friends on facebook and daily mile have been so encouraging.  It really has been a virtual support system for me across the country.  

Thank you all who have sent cards and your handwritten thoughts to me.  I really really appreciate them and appreciate you all so much for thinking of me and supporting me through this craziness of a journey in my life.  


Jess said...

Nancy, you are AMAZING! Go! Go! GO!!!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you. And, I agree with you - You are a survivor!

Wendy J. Matthews said...

Great pics, great day - so glad I got to share part of it with you.

p.s. I figured out my password situation - it only took me a few weeks HA! ;)