“There aren’t that many symptoms. By the time they start appearing, you’re at an advanced stage. That’s the norm with lymphoma cancer. The only symptom I can say I experienced was tiredness. But it was the pain in my hip and groin (where lymph nodes are) that brought me in. I thought I had torn something.
After having X-rays done, I was told I would need two new hips in about ten years; I wasn’t satisfied with that because my pain was getting worse. It was affecting my walk, my yoga practice, I wasn’t sleeping – I was exhausted. I wanted a second opinion so on May 11, 2016, six months after the X-rays had been taken, I met with Dr. Clarke. He asked a lot of questions and eventually agreed that there was something more going on.
He ordered a CAT scan that afternoon and then we went over the results together. We could see arthritis setting in and he confirmed I would need hip replacements, but when we focused on the right side (where I had more pain) he noticed a notch in my hip bone. Dr. Clarke grew concerned, but acted quickly, which I was happy about.
The next day I had an MRI, and over the course of a week, I had more tests, a biopsy and was referred to Oncology. Dr. Clarke suspected it might be Lymphoma. He didn’t wait for the results to come in (which would have taken a couple weeks) – he put me on an emergency surgery list. On June 2, Dr. Sharif, a Hematologist, confirmed the diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It had transferred to the bone and marrow and needed to be dealt with immediately. I had surgery the next day.
On June 29, I started aggressive chemotherapy treatments. After the last session, I had a PET Scan (which uses a special dye and goes head to toe searching for hot spots where tumors could be). The scan was clear and by the end of November, I was officially declared to be in remission. Lymphoma is not curable, but it is treatable. I’m currently on a maintenance program to prolong reoccurances of the cancer as long as possible. Chances are it will come back unless I beat the odds. I’m working on that.” – Diane
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