Well, we now have a definite diagnosis of Lymphocitic Classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, or at least we probably do as my oncologist has asked for the biopsy to be sent to Washington for confirmation as it seems that, if I do have this, then it is a “rare sub-type” and clearly we want to get the medication correct.
The medication scares me more than a little. If I’ve correctly understood what the oncologist has told me and what I have read, then I can expect the medicine to damage my heart and to have a lasting effect on my lungs. At the time the doctor was telling me this my thoughts were pretty much along the lines of “well, at least I will be alive!”, but now, almost a week later some of the reality of the changes are beginning to make me think a little. I will have to try to keep out of strong sunlight (easy-peasy in Florida!) so long sleeves, long trousers and a broad brimmed hat are a relatively easy compromise to make I guess though I have enjoyed just bumming around in t-shirt, shorts and sandals. Wearing sun screen I can accommodate to fairly easily as well I think though I still associate its feel and smell with family holidays on Yorkshire’s East Coast with the wind blowing the sand enough to stick to my skin in an unpleasant way and my feeling all sticky from the cream as well – yuk!! When the doctor explained that there could/will be damage to my heart from the chemotherapy I never thought to ask what the consequences of that might be; well you don’t do you, you’re just glad to be told that you are going to live! Does that damage mean that my heart isn’t going to be able to keep me going for a walk in the Pennines when I get back to Yorkshire or even worse, will the damage be such that I won’t even be able to go for a walk around here where it’s more or less as flat as a pancake? Does the damage mean that my heart will wear out before it would have done otherwise? Will I be able to exercise at a gym as normal (well as normal as normal was when I used to go regularly) or does it mean that I will have to exercise at a lower intensity or not at all? To what extent will the damage to my lungs impact on that? It seems that one of the drugs I will be given wil have a permanent impact on my lungs, such that, if anyone wants me to have oxygen I will need to tell them about the drug. I never thought to ask what would happen if I didn’t. Since then other thoughts occur. It’s all very well having a tag attached to me which says that I’ve had the drug provided I’m in a situation where either I can point it out or the someone will discover it for themselves, but, what, for instance, might happen if I was on an aeroplane and passed out so that cabin crew wanted to give me oxygen? Should I tell them of my problem before we take off?
A friend of mine who has recovered from cancer suggests I take up a new hobby during the period I will be receiving chemotherapy, but I’m not sure what that might be. I enjoy reading but I already do that. I enjoy working on the computer but I already do that. I enjoy walking around the local conservation lake but won’t be able to do that so what will I do to replace it I wonder? I’ve always been reasonably active, playing football, mountain biking, squash, badminton, table-tennis, kayaking, swimming and so on, so, even though the frequency and intensity of these activities has reduced as I’ve aged, I won’t be able to do any of them for, at least, a while and possibly not at all depending upon the answers to the questions I’ve raised above. I loved playing board games when I was younger but we have a pair of cats who really don’t understand that some surfaces just shouldn’t be used for jumping on to so I doubt that board games can really come back into my life in any sort of way at the present. If anyone does read this blog and does have (sensible) suggestions then I’d love to hear them.
Other than that life moves on in its own sweet way. Once again this week we have huge stress from an outside source which, because of my own self-imposed rules, I can’t write about, but we are all doing what we can to mitigate the impact and working towards addressing the cause.