CSN Login
Members Online: 1

You are here

Checking in

AnnieMouse
Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2017

Hi everyone,

I’m new here but without a diagnosis yet. I go for an excisional biopsy of an enlarged axillary lymph node on Monday. The thing is 5.2 x 1.8 x 1.6 cm. Weird shape. At present, they are thinking lymphoma. No terrible symptoms except for vague chest wall/rib cage pain that wraps around to my back plus pretty bad fatigue. I literally collapse after work and sleep for a few hours. Not like me at all. 

Trying not to be scared but it’s hard. My work gave me tomorrow and Friday off to decompress and do my pre-op appointments. I work in medicine so that makes this whole process worse. I have control freak tendencies but now there’s something I can’t control. Ugh! 

Well, here’s to happy thoughts and hopefully not too bad of news. 

Best to all! I’ll keep you posted. 

Sten's picture
Sten
Posts: 162
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi AnnieMouse,

Lymphoma can be cured. I had it in my cerebellum in 2012 at the age of 68. It was inoperable. I got chemo rounds, own stem cell collection, high dose chemo. and autologous stem cell transplant. The tumour vanished. Then I took Temodar pills 4 days a month for 2 years.

Now I am healthy and in good shape and feel fine. The only remaining problems are that I have a slight neuropathy, a little numbness of my feet which does not bother me at all, and my red corpuscles (blood cells) are bigger than normal and have a different shape but work just as well as before.

I wish you good luck!

Sten

AnnieMouse
Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2017

Thank you, Sten! That makes me feel so much better. I realize now that my symptoms should have been checked much sooner but I was busy and in denial. So of course, now I’m worried about where else this might be. It’s a relief to hear how highly treatable this cancer is!i

po18guy
Posts: 978
Joined: Nov 2011

It is my experience that lymphoma is much worse to worry about than to actually have. Odd, huh? Whereas our worries and fears are limitless and filled with horror, lymphoma has limits. It can be, and most often is conquered. Those who have been through it are stronger in many ways than they were before. I, for one, do not regret anything that I have gone through in the past nine years, as it has completely reset my view of life - made it more enjoyable, if you can believe that. But, that's just one opinion.

AnnieMouse
Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2017

I really appreciate your unique perspective. I’ve been though very difficult times in the past and while I’d rather not repeat them, they have shaped me into who I am today. Thus, I hope to find the “good” in this situation. But at this point, I’m angry and scared. Angry because I’ll likely have to put life on hold again and scared because I don’t yet know what I’m dealing with (what type of cancer, treatment, prognosis...) But I’m sure glad I foubd this group. I think it will make the process easier. Thanks again!

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3207
Joined: May 2012

Welcome to you Marie.  I hope this site assists you in your journey.

One does not "put their life on hold" while fighting cancer, quite the opposite.  You mentioned "control freak" tendencies. Lose those immediately, since your time of being able to micromanage is over.  Only sickness teaches a wise person the meaning of heath.

I suspect that your biopsy will come back positive. That is a massive node, with few other explanations, but only the pathology report will know for certain (there are other explanations, just very improbable).  My diagnosis was similiar: my whole heart cavity was full of huge nodes, mimicing unstable angina.  My biopsy node was from my (L) axillary, not a lot smaller than the node you described.  Except that I had them everywhere, from the lower neck into the pelvic region, and across both sides.  Doc said wrapped all around the length of the escophagus, all around the superior vena cava, all over the spleen, inside the lungs.  A highly experienced surgeon first showed me my CT.  I knew nothing aobut how to view a CT, and asked naively, "Is it bad ?"  He lost control momentarily and yelled "Look at it ! It's all over"  He addedd that all it could be was Lymphoma, or end-stage AIDS. He said that "it looks like a person about to die of AIDS."  Since I was at no risk for AIDS, that was ruled out.

I can remember when in the middle of chemo (around maybe month 3), lying in bed, too weak to speak on a telephone.  Once I had to pant like a dog to get oxygen, was about to asphyxiate most likely.   It was some of the most intensive life I ever lived.  (I later discoved that I had developed fibrosis, lung toxicity, and asthma).

A calm, rational analysis of your treatment choices and what in life most matters are the most productive and healthy ways to view any serious disease.  Anger or dread will drain your thoughts and are caustic.

Most people relate to cancer the same way they relate to any other challange, which makes sense of course.  Many here have benefitted from Yoga or other practices, any relaxation activity that you enjoy will be of benefit to you. Tai chi is popular today, and seems relatively easy to use. I have not myself, but again, many here have gone to tai chi to great benefit -- even the Aflac duck.

max

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay5aUabPnQU

AnnieMouse
Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2017

Hi Max,

Well, the node is out and now it’s “wait and see” with the pathology report. Surgical oncologist is hopeful though. It was, in fact, 5 cm but he mentioned it could be lipoma or fatty replacement, which would be best news ever. One of the doctors I work with sent a note to the director of pathology so they are going to try and expedite the study. Either way, I’m grateful for the support and advice of everyone here. And I do appreciate your perspective. Indeed, life would change and take a very different focus.  I’m sure I was just feeling sorry for myself at that moment.

I will keep you all posted. Praying for good news.

 

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

A good single malt helps some people. 

po18guy
Posts: 978
Joined: Nov 2011

Rather, instead of bering placed "on hold", your life has taken on a new direction, a new depth, a new meaning. All of a sudden, each day is a little more precious. Tomorrow cannot be taken for granted. You are going places and meeting people that you never would have otherwise. Your life has just expanded. Because all of this does not fit into your plans does not make it bad. And, you do not even have cancer.

Huh? Well, the healthy way of thinking about this is: You do not have cancer until a pathology report says you have cancer." Doctor's "concern" and personal worries do not determine reality. They are abstracts. A diagnosis is real - but again, you have been strengthened by the downs of life so that you are strong enough to handle a poor diagnosis, or a good one.

Life in no way stops. It changes direction, quality, persepctive, outlook, but it does not stop. Have a read: https://csn.cancer.org/node/309309

If I had to go back 9 years and choose health or cancer, I would take the cancer. Really.

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

You would choose cancer over health? I respect your opinion but don’t relate to it in any way. We can be different and still respect each other’s views. I find your story fascinating.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3207
Joined: May 2012

Shady, your views are those of most Americans and most westernized people throughout the world.

However, belief in meritorious suffering or the notion that suffering makes one better is ancient, and was once pervasive throughout the world.  And this is true in this life, regardless of the afterlife notions of various religions and philosophies.

Buddhism, which denies any afterlife at all, teaches that all human existence is suffering (Sanskrit, dukkha), to be overcome only through right understanding and will.  'Nirvana' (Pali: nibbana "to extinguish") is most often described as a candle buring out. It is achieved only after all self will and desire is eliminated.

Judaism and Christianity historically have always understood suffering to improve character and the nature of life, in this world, and of course in the afterlife also.

Various secular philosophies, such as Roman Stocism and some Greeks (neoplatonic writers, for instance) have all viewed life as a harsh struggle, and how one views that struggle are at their core.

So the notion of improvement through suffering is not even usually otherworldly, and very often is not even religious, but derived from secular writers.

Of course, no sane, balanced inidividual would ever seek or desire suffering.  It is when it comes uninvited that our reaction to it matters.

I know all of this is too esoteric and odd for most current readers, who communicate via emojis and Instagram only.  The smart phone has mostly eradicated reading from current America.  Historians are labelling our age 'The New Barbarism.'   Soon, we will only communicate via grunts and clubs.

 

Kelly Clarkson's hit Stronger is a modern, pop music take on these notions.

 

 

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

Philosophy aside, I have trouble understanding anything noble about choosing to have cancer. The best of good fortune to you and yours.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3207
Joined: May 2012

I do not recall mentioning "choosing to have cancer." I wrote that no sane or healthy individual could ever desire such a thing. 

My address regarded how one most profitiably deals with the hand once it is delt to you....   Some reactions build upon the misfortune, others just plod through, Eeyore-style, lamenting "woe is me."

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

I was referring to a quote from another member.

 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3207
Joined: May 2012

By omitting to read your future posts I will avoid any potential for additional confusion.

Evarista
Posts: 247
Joined: May 2017

...without being asked:  Max, I think Shady hit the wrong "Reply" link and intended to being speaking to someone else or in general terms.  Those little "Reply" links can be confusing, in my opinion.  No hard feelings between two good people I hope?

Rocquie's picture
Rocquie
Posts: 828
Joined: Mar 2013

The replies don't always appear within the thread where we think they will. That is why I always include the name if I am responding to a particular person. 

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

certainly no bad feelings from me.

po18guy
Posts: 978
Joined: Nov 2011

How we view life, sickness, cancer, death, health, a great vacation or grandchildren is largely a product of our world view. I am of the firm belief that I am living in this life, but living for the next life. That alone changes everything. I have a defininte view on suffering. I have come to know that it can have value. Yes, you read that right. Many of the greatest and most selfless human beings that ever lived knew the value of suffering and did not avoid it. You have heard the expression "That's their cross to bear"? Exactly.

Lacking such a belief, life would be little more than a bitter joke - a biological lottery. No sir!

Do you live in the US? If so, anywhere near Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Honolulu or Tampa? I address groups of lymphoma patients there about 4X yearly and would love to meet anyone here if they could attend. 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3207
Joined: May 2012

The best secular, academic minds who have studied the meaning of life have all agreed with your statement here, Po.  The greatest philosopher of the 20th century, the German Martin Heidegger, concluded that life for persons who believe nothing (like himself) consists of "care and dread, and projects levelled into nothingness by death."  Heidegger's book Being and Time properly translates 'care and dread' as Sorge und Angst.  It is from this book that the term "Angst" has become hugely popular in contemporary English.

Jean-Paul Sartre, the Frenchman who taught at Sorbonne concluded that humanity is a sort of mass nausea, that the earth vomits out in death (see his international best-seller entitled Nausea).  Sartre famously once wrote that "the only question worth studying in philosophy is whether to commit sucide, and when."  Nietzsche wrote that childbirth represented "new filth entering the earth."

I took my daughter to a music fest in Atlanta a few years ago.  One guy had on a "Death Metal" shirt that read "Life....Death....Nothing."  Death Metal is a popular subgenre that praises death, suicide, murder, nihilism, and the meaninglessness of life.  Lyrics praise rape and all form of violence and perversity.

Suicide is epidemic throughout western societies today.  Herion addiction now kills ten of thousands a year in the US.  Children are overrun with all variety of mental health issues that did not even exist when I was a kid.  I went to high school in the mid 70s, and never heard of or knew anyone with anything called "autism," and didn't know of anyone with symptoms similiar to what is called autism.  There was no such thing as ADHD in my time, just kids would not behave. When I began teaching high school in 1999, what most amazed me was the stream of parents coming by to see me to explain the "conditions" their kids had, and why their behavior was not their fault, and the list of drugs they had to take throughout the school day.  The kids ate Ritalin the way we ate M&Ms in my day.

Assisted suicide is taking hold everywhere, and was even approved in Italy this week.  Japan has public parks set aside mostly for adults to committ suicide in.  I will document any and all of this with news articles from the mainstream press to anyone who requests such via the email service here.

We live in a culture of death and meaninglessness.  A people who believe nothing will fall for anything.

Many people here sign their commentary as "Their Humble Opinion"  or "Just one person's opinion."  What I wrote above is in fact NOT my opinion, but a summation of what is being taught to our kids throughout western culture in all of the best universities. It represents the opinions of the press and even govenment policies in many places.  If it were "my humble opinion," I would not have ever shared it.

.

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

I have traveled to 64 countries in my life and experienced all the major (and some minor) religions up close so my opinions come from experience, not “book learning”. One thing I learned is that people will always disagree on religion And the topic is best avoided. I try to make comments based on practicality. Things get confused when we fail to maintain focus. In practical terms I can see no reason to choose cancer over heallth. While saying that I agree that overcoming adversity builds character in most but not all people. At the same time I realize none of us can choose to have or not have cancer. Its just a fact and we all respond differently. My father (single malt was his solution) told me about a fierce battle he was in. He said there were wounded who cussed and swore as as others prayed and cried for their mothers. I doubt you could tell the difference by reading their names off some wall. As I say, whatever works.

po18guy
Posts: 978
Joined: Nov 2011

It strikes those most who believe in one of two things:

1. Nothing

2. Everything

Each and every culture and society on earth has a mechanism, a belief system, a philosophy, a world view, a religion, which embraces the universal human experience of suffering and death. I advise those suffering to examine those various mechanisms to see if one is a good "fit." If one does not provide comfort or relief, try another! What is there to lose, except anxiety and despondency?

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

Except in some cultures people want to die but few want to suffer by choosing illness over health. As far as flitting about like a butterfly most religions encourage a set of core values which adherents stick with through thick and thin. In Catholicism thats how some saints come to be, maintaining faith in adversity, refusing to change views even to torture and death. Flitting about to different views based on personal comfort is what secularists do. In any case I am if not secular, certainly non-sectarian, so go for it.  Good luck and cheers.

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

“If I had to go back 9 years and choose health or cancer, I would take the cancer. really”

Really? Then cancer is a blessing? Do you want it for your children?

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

I cannot see having lymphoma as providing a benefit in any way. fighting against and hopefully overcoming lymphoma, or any adversity thrust upon us by life, definitely builds character. However choosing adversity to prove oneself does not compute with me. Still, thats “just one opinion”.

dana-mihaela's picture
dana-mihaela
Posts: 39
Joined: Sep 2016

Shady I agree with you totally, having cancer is not fun and it is not what we should have in order to grow and become better persons and value every day of our life. Cancer is a complex disease. We got cancer because we did something wrong with our diet, with our thinking, working too much, stressing to much, eating junk food ,drinking and smoking and so on... you all know what I am talking about. Cancer is a result of all this and it has deep roots it is a metabolic disease. We are doing chemo and radiation but we are not changing our life and food and sleep and all the things that we did before we cannot have a different outcome we will get cancer again. This is my opinion. For me cancer was an eye opener of what I did wrong before and now I am trying to correct. I am sorry if I upset anyone it is not my purpose here it is just my opinion. 

Good luck you all, 

Dana

Rocquie's picture
Rocquie
Posts: 828
Joined: Mar 2013

Cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of a single cell; a cell whose circuits have been broken, unleashing a cell that cannot stop growing, a cell with unfathomable power of growth. This growth can be triggered by many things, viruses such as EpsteinBarr and HumanPapaloma, auto immune disorders such as Sjogrens, smoking, chemicals such as pesticides (often cited in Lymphoma), genetics and hormones. It can also be age related and one of the reasons it seems so much more prevalent is simply because people now live longer. It can also remain elusive and mysterious. Often it is a matter of luck.

Cancer is as old as the ancient Egyptians. Doctors and Scientists have been trying to decode it, fix it, cure it, understand it, tackle it, eradicate it for that long. More is known now than ever. Treatments are better, more successful, and much, much more humane. Cancer patients like us are not only surviving. . .We are living.

I am all for improving one's health to prevent diabetes, high blood presssure, obesity, high cholesterol. But you did not cause your cancer. 

Best,

Rocquie

 

po18guy
Posts: 978
Joined: Nov 2011

Lifetime vegetarians get cancer. Each and every human body that has ever lived has produced cancer cells - that is why we have an immune system! I never smoked or drank, ate healthily, was active and still got cancer. Cancer is not our "Fault"! Where on earth did that thought come from? Is it fun? No! But, neither is life fun if you add up all the negatives and focus solely on them. We are not wired that way. We are not simply cosmic accidents or experients.

Rather, we take the hand of cards that we are dealt and play the best round of poker that we are able to. We have help in this. I have the great advantage of a certain world view, of being able to look back on what has happened, and the places it has taken me, the experiences that I have had and the people I have come to know. My horizon has only expanded. Is that so bad? I encourage cancer patients and caregivers. Is that lying to them? Knowing what I know now, I would do it again.

Cancer is simply a part of many lives. To go around repeating "cancer sucks" to me means that life sucks. Really? You stopped loving others and they stopped loving you? The only life that sucks is one that is loveless.

Rather, love is proved during such times. It is deepened and made permenent.

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

Thanks for correcting the spelling.

Evarista
Posts: 247
Joined: May 2017

Hi Annie, so sorry that you are going through this.  I sincerely hope that the outcome is not a malignancy, but if it is, you can deal with it.  Remember: there are things that you can control and you should try to control what you can. It will serve you well in the long run.  Exercise, diet, following doctors instructions, attitude.  Importantly, you did not do anything wrong! We are complex organisms with complex processes that can go awry.  And while we also have wonderful repair mechanisms, they unfortunately are not always successful.  Modern medicine is amazing though.  Hang tough.

AnnieMouse
Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2017

Very good advice — no matter what the outcome. I’m preparing for the worst but hoping for the best!

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

is a form of PTSD and PTSD is quite common in people going through radical medical procedures.

illead's picture
illead
Posts: 832
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Annie,

I just want to apologize for things getting a little out of hand on your thread.  That usually doesn't happen and we really do care. I am thinking about you and also hoping for the best with your reports.  I also want to say that if you do have lymphoma, you needn't worry about being late in getting diagnosed and not to worry about the staging.  Lymphoma is different than other cancers, in fact there is more "wait and watch" in lymphoma now because it is not essential to catch it early.  The same with the staging.....ie Stage 4 does not mean a poor prognosis, it is more of a way of measuring and almost always most lymphomas react positively to treament no matter the stage or time of diagnosis.  A suggestion is that when you find out, it may be a good idea to start a fresh thread, I know we are all interested in what you find out.

Becky

po18guy
Posts: 978
Joined: Nov 2011

...what to believe. Only attempting to explain the source of my perspective. One may dispassionately read and evaluate the various responses and decide as an adult. 

ShadyGuy's picture
ShadyGuy
Posts: 366
Joined: Jan 2017

Permission to do that. Thank you.

Evarista
Posts: 247
Joined: May 2017

Hey Annie, just wanted to say that we haven't forgotten you!  Guessing that you'll get your biopsy results sometime this week (if you haven't already).  Cross-fingers and hoping that there is no bad news.  Let us know if we can help.

Subscribe to Comments for "Checking in"