My bestfriend has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Alexis, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Winner

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    On boxing day she finally went to the hospital after being ill for months. She thought this time she had a chest infection or a bad flu. They knew straight away it was worse and sent her for a cat scan which detected tumours in her throat and lungs. The annoying horrible thing is that she had visited her GP four times from the early summer complaining about constant fatigue, a burning sensation all over her body that was making her itch and scratch and a sore throat and what she felt were swollen glands. The GP gave her several topical creams and ointments and antihistamines. Obviously these did nothing and things got worse and yet the GP never picked up any of these symptoms of cancer. The hospital knew in five minutes!

    She's my cousin and best friend. I've literally known her all her life. She was the first baby I remember being allowed to hold when I was 7 years old. She followed me around despite me being older and just stuck to me. We have been very, very close our whole lives. She's only 27 and has a 3 year old daughter. I have had uncles who have had cancer. I have seen them go through treatment. I have watched them die. I work caring for people who are dying from cancer. I know what it is and I have dealt with it but this is just so different.
    I have never felt such fear in my life. I have never felt like this. Frozen and powerless.

    The doctors seem positive and my cousin is too. Frighteningly positive, I know she's going to put her all into getting well again but I don't think she fully grasps the chemo which is beginning tomorrow. Initially they said 6 cycles of chemo but now they say it may be more. She has a last scan tomorrow morning which will determine exactly what stage she is at. Although because of the symptoms she has already displayed from she was admitted to hospital they are estimating it's stage 3. As it's in both lungs and throat/chest. She hasn't really witnessed what chemotherapy is. She's read a little about it but it's just so gruelling and awful and she's so tiny. She's only 45kg at the minute. I'm going to be there when she starts it tomorrow.

    Apparently Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a treatable cancer and the numbers are good for people becoming cancer free. Although I think it depends on when the cancer was detected and how quickly it was treated. My cousin had the rash and felt unwell in July when we went to London. We saw little of each other last year due to work so I didn't really notice how bad things were until I saw her on Christmas night and she frightened me, she looked literally dead. Grey, so thin and frail and she was moving in slow motion. I screamed at her to go to hospital which she did the next morning. She said she knew she had to go but wanted to get Christmas over for her daughter first.
    As soon as she was diagnosed I cut my hours at work to just 3 days to be there with her and to help look after her daughter.

    I don't know exactly what this post is. It's a vent, a rant or whatever. They say it's therapeutic to write things down and to let them go from you. I don't know.

    I may not post as much and I may not participate in things as much but I will always come back here for a little distraction and relief.
     
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  2. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry to hear that amd I hope she does well from her treatment

    I know 2 people who have had it - but i do get muddled up between Hodgkins and non hodgkins lymphoma

    They are both alive and well 6 years and 18 years later - my friend who had it 6 years ago basically had to forego a year of her life with hospitals, appointments and chemo and lost her hair and eyebrows. It was tough and she was very tired but now ............ she looks fab, and you would never know what she had been though

    Good luck to her and her family, shes lucky she has a friend like you x :hugs:
     
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  3. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    Alexis, I'm really sorry to hear about your friend's plight. Cancer is a scary diagnosis but these days most cancers are curable and those that are not are usually treatable so you should always remain optimistic. You seem to be a supporting her very well which is what she needs but don't forget you may need support too so don't be afraid to ask for and take help when you need it. Good luck to you both.
     
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  4. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    How horrible. Cancer sucks and for it to happen to someone that young is really frightening. :(
    But at least your cousin is in good spirits about it and is staying positive. I think that's important. I sincerously hope she will be able to beat this thing and I hope you will be able to be strong and keep supporting her even though it will be emotionally draining for you too.

    Sending you hugs.
     
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  5. Edie70

    Edie70 Soap Chat Active Member

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    It's always so scary to say the word cancer when it's connected to your loved ones or you in some personal way. My grandmother is currently fighting cancer, diagnosed in November, skin cancer. It's stage 3 and they seem to be very optimistic but these treatments take up so much time, usually about a year. Sometimes even more. Your cousin is very lucky to have such a strong emotional support and companion during this terribly hard time in her life.

    Just remember this - if you ever feel tired, exhausted or simply need to talk to distract yourself, we're always here for you. Good luck to you both!
     
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  6. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    I am so sorry to hear that. You know where I am if you need to talk. Please come back and let us know if you need to talk, or just to check in and see how you are.

    I know someone who pretended for months to have this illness. We found her out and she conveniently disappeared. Awful thing to lie about.

    Just scream, rant, cry whatever you need but keep talking to us. xxx
     
  7. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Winner

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    Thanks for all the well wishes. She had her first chemotherapy session yesterday and her mum and I stayed with her through it and all day. They are keeping her in hospital for a week to observe her as it's her first session. The scan results also came back and she is stage 4. We are still waiting to find out how much bigger than 7cm the tumours are. We've been told it will be 6 sessions of chemo. And they will monitor her to see if the cancer shrinks. Hopefully that amount of chemo will do it. If not they have said that she would have more chemo and alternated radiotherapy. She was very brave yesterday but I knew she was frightened, she's a fighter though so she'll give it her all.

    Unfortunately I have developed a cold sore. These things that always strike at the worst possible times. Because I have the cold sore I am not allowed to see her now she's having the chemo. Cancer patients who develop cold sores are at risk from worse complications. Sleepless nights and not eating properly the last few weeks have taken their toll. Though this is now a reality check and I need to look after myself so I can look after her. Horribly it's only tonight that she is beginning to actually feel sick.
    I'll get the L Lysine pills that get rid of the virus quicker and whack Zovirax on it and hopefully I can see her in the next few days. I'm back at work tomorrow and now I'm only doing 3 days a week so I shouldn't be as run down as I had been.

    She should also be home at the end of the week which will make her feel much better and more relaxed and comfortable. And as we live so close I can call and see her as often as possible. She's also looking into other treatments along with the chemo. Hemp oil and Vitamin C infusions? I'm not entirely sure what they are but I will do soon.
     
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  8. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Winner

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    That's disgusting... I just don't even know what the hell would go on in someone's head that they would come off with such a horrible thing.
     
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  9. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Not to get too off topic, but a "friend" I worked with lied about giving a kidney to one of our coworkers (just before he died) who'd needed one for years. She even took time off for it.
     
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  10. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    This is so common when people are concerned about an unwell loved one that they literally worry themselves sick. Cold sores can be brought on by stress so you really need to look after yourself so you are in the best condition to look after your friend when she needs you.
     
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  11. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    And that is the worst. Everyone reacts differently to chemo. My uncle had cancer twice in 5 years and went through the chemo sessions both times. He has now been in remission for over 10 years. He developed terrible mouth ulcers and couldn't stand chewing food and began to lose weight rapidly so my aunty (his wife) would make these banana thickshakes with a secret ingredient;
    HMCN.jpg
    Not sure if this helps with your bestie Alexis but sometimes little things out of left field can help. I caught up with him over the Christmas break and he looks amazing. Although he should be retired (and did so when first diagnosed) he now supports his son in his business. And would you believe it, he was having one of his banana thick shakes...and yes he figured out that secret ingredient.

    Best wishes from downunder :)
     
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  12. pd fan

    pd fan Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    My father had a hodgkin, lymphoma 10 years ago on the third degree ,he did the chimio for six months and now he,s fine I remember the doctor telling us that sort of cancer was the most easy for the cure and he was right then ,now my father is fine of course he always need to do controls but he,s still there with you so keep the hopes for your friend Alexis I,m sure everything will go for the best
     
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  13. Maryann

    Maryann Soap Chat Fan

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    So sorry to hear that, hope she gets better and get through the treatments to fight this horrible disease. God Bless her!!!
     
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  14. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Get well soon Alexis. You do need to look after yourself as well.

    Also since I am not that familiar with different cancer terms, is a stage 4 better or worse than a stage 3?

    I do hope the treatments will work so that your cousin will be good as new.
     
  15. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Winner

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    So two rounds of chemo down and the next one is next Thursday. I have been at the previous two and will be there next week too. The second bout of therapy did make her much more sick. She's also started loosing her hair and that's been bothering her. On Saturday we are having a farewell party for her hair/wig party. Our mutual friend is a hairdresser so he's going to cut her hair off so she doesn't have to slowly watch it vanish. He's also going to trim her wigs for her. It will be a group of her close friends and we have all bought a load of wigs to wear and have a laugh with. One of her friends is a makeup artist and is going to show her how to do eyebrows when they are gone too. It will just be a silly bit of fun so that loosing her hair wont be as big a deal.

    The sessions are flying by so fast. Tonight she's coming over dinner and DVD's probably The Golden Girls. While I was cleaning up before she came one of my other close friends text me to tell me that her mother has bowel cancer. It's crazy. It's something I really never gave much thought to but since this has come into my life it has been everywhere. Like a dark shadow that's always there.
     
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  16. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that cancer has affected your life so much lately. It's such a horrible disease. I can see why losing her hair is bothering your cousin. I think most people has problem with it and being younger can't make it any easier. So it's good that you are doing the "wig party" and trying to make light of a bad situation.
     
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  17. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Winner

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    Well we have had some good news this week. She had another scan and it has shown that the chemo is doing what it supposed to and is shrinking the tumours. The consultant seems very happy with the treatment working and has said that radiotherapy shouldn't be needed. So now they are dropping one of the chemo drugs and upping the chemo sessions. Instead of twice monthly she will have chemo weekly and some of it at home via drug instead of at hospital via a drip line.

    Short term she will likely feel much worse. More sickness etc but that is only for a few more months and then hopefully things should all be better.
     
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  18. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    This is really good news @Alexis, I'm pleased she is responding so well to the treatment.
     
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  19. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That is great. It sounds like she is in for some intensive treatment but it will only last for a little while. So tell her to stay strong and keep fighting until she's well. :hb:
     
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  20. Edie70

    Edie70 Soap Chat Active Member

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    Alexis, I thought of your friend recently. Sending her positive vibes and well wishes.

    My grandmother was not so lucky after all. She died last Friday after a week in a coma. Her advanced age and declining health (mostly the poor condition of her blood cells and malignant lesions). I kept it together but it was hard and unusual and such an empty feeling to see her body in a black bag with her name tag on it. Damn.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
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