In June 2022 I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is a type of blood cancer that mainly affects the lymph nodes.
I never thought that at my age (28) I would have to battle something like this, but I have the most amazing support system around me, my husband especially, and family and friends who are all helping me through this tough chapter in my life.
The first symptom I had, which I didn’t link to anything was night sweats, I thought it was just my body fighting some sort of flu or infection. The second thing was a lump on my neck, which at first I thought was a swollen gland – I ignored at first but when it started getting bigger I made an appointment to see the GP. They checked me over and then referred me for an initial biopsy where they thought the cause of the lump was TB (Tuberculosis).
I was then referred to the infectious diseases unit, where they went on to do another biopsy as the cultures were testing negative for TB. This next biopsy still came back negative, but they saw 3 things in the lymph nodes which were abnormal – scattered centroblasts, immunoblasts, and histiocytes. Because of this the doctor wanted to do one more biopsy rather than put me on antibiotics for TB which was testing negative, so they went on to do one more fine needle biopsy, but also did a incisional biopsy to get a bigger sample.
The result from this – Hodgkins Lymphoma. Once referred to the clinical heamotology dept, I had to have a PET scan to determine the stage of the cancer. The cancer was seen in both sides of my neck, the glands in my chest and also in my pelvic bone which the consultant said made my diagnosis Stage 4B (the B is added due to the night sweats being a symptom).
Since then I have had 2 full cycles of BEACOPP DAC Chemotherapy, currently on my 3rd Cycle, the side effects are rough but I know that getting through this stage is only going to bring brighter days once I’ve beat this thing!
I was given the option of the less intensive ABVD chemotherapy, but with my cancer being classed as stage 4B, my consultant recommended that I go for the more intensive option (BEACOPP DAC) as the likelihood of it working would be far greater. I have had to take precautions for future proofing in terms of fertility, which was all explained to me by the doctors and I just have to keep my fingers crossed for the best possible outcome from all of this.
Now I just have to wait for these cycles to finish so I can hopefully have another PET scan and get some good results!
Side effects I’ve experienced:
Low white blood cells