Friday, 21 May 2010

Last Chemo/CT Scan/PET Scan......REMISSION!

As you can see from the title of this blog...very good news! But I'll start from the beginning.

So I went for what I hoped would be the last chemo on 7th May. It went fairly well. Had a bit of pain in the vein with the dacarbazine as it was sore from the last chemo but I still managed to fall asleep during it lol. Unfortunately my blood was very low (Neutropenia level was 0.5 when 'normal' is 7.0. So I was was very neutropenic meaning I was VERY susceptible to infection as I had few white blood cells.) They warned me about it before I went home. Unfortunately after a few hours of getting home I suddenly came ovr feeling very ill - I was feeling very very cold and was shivering which were both signs of infection so I went straight back to the hospital. They kept me in over night to test my heart, x-ray my chest, test for infection and give me IV antibiotics. I was allowed home the next day with anti-biotics yet again! Fortunately there was no infection, it was just all the chemo catching up with me and I was on antibiotics for a few days as a precaution with my blood being so low.

The following monday I was booked in for my CT scan. This scan would show if the lymph nodes that had swollen due to the cancer had reduced nor not. It was clear from just looking at my neck that it had gone right down but I couldn't tell from my chest. For the scan you have to drink a liquid to outline your organs. I threw it all up before I went in for the scan. Luckily I could still have the scan if I just drank water. The results came back the following week and they were very good. There was however still some swollen nodes behind my left breastbone but they were small enough not to be classed as abnormal. The doctor said that the results from this scan showed REMISSION! I couldn't believe he used that word. But obviously there was still a chance I wasn't in remission.

The next day, the tuesday, I went to London for the PET scan. I had to go to London as I was participating in a clinical trial to see about reducing treatment for patients like myself. The PET scan would show if there was any active cancer in my body. So it would show wether the swollen lymph nodes in my chest were actually active or not. I had the PET scan and then spent the rest of the day shopping in London and travelling home. I would hear the results by the end of the week so I expected to hear them on Friday.

The next day I was very tired and was asleep on the couch when my dad woke me up at half 5 to tell me the doctor was on the phone for me. My stomach did a somersault knowing it was probably about my results. Basically he said I was........IN REMISSION! I couldnt believe it. I had beaten cancer. I wasn't ill anymore and I didn't need to go through anymore chemo. Considering my life for the past 8 months was all hospitals and cancer it felt like I was never going to get to this point. I still needed to hear however wheter I would need to have radiotherapy or not just as default for being part of the trial as it is normally standard treatment for hodgkins lymphoma. I found out the next day the excellent news that I wouldnt have to have it. I was over the moon because radiotherapy would have quite largely increased my chances of breast cancer in later life as it would have been directed close to breast tissue. It would have also involved going to the hospital in middlesbrough everyday for 3 weeks...NO THANKS! It was all over.

Since the beginning of October last year my life has been all hospitals, 2 operations, needles, blood tests, overnight hospital stays, chemotherapy, scans and a hell of a lot of worrying. I've suffered from anxiety attacks late at night, felt very depressed and often wondered why I would even bother waking up some days just to suffer feeling ill. Chemotherapy really is HELL but I got through it and I think I am a stronger person emotionally now. I still had good days aswell as well as bad days.

Some friends didn't really bother with me right from the beginning of the whole cancer journey but some really made the effort with me, wether it was coming to see me or always asking how I was and how things were going. For those who didnt bother - I don't know wether it's because they didn't know what to say or sometimes I feel more because they were too wrapped up in their own petty problems I don't know. It's better to say something rather than nothing at all. You might have felt bad, but I felt worse. It's something I'll never understand but thats life.

Now my life will be 3monthly hospital checkups and getting on with being a 20 year old. I'm taking the next year out of Uni as I can still be suffering the side effects of chemo for up to a year and I shall return the following year to complete my final year.

Thanks to everyone who has read this blog. I hope it has been a help if you are going through something similar yourself and if you're just reading it out interest then I hope I have opened your eyes what cancer suffers really have to go through. (All too often I got 'Ohh it will all be over soon').

I'm off to enjoy my life. Lauren xxx

12 comments:

  1. hi lauren, just finished reading your blog and i think your a very brave and amazing young woman, you gave me lots of hope. im on a wait n see, and was dignosed on 19th feb2009 with non hodgkins follicular lymphoma, i go back to hospital on monday for my usual checkup. i want to wish you all the very best and hope you have a very happy healthly future. from colette x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Lauren,
    That is brilliant news. I am really pleased for you.
    Leo also had good news from hi CT scan that tumors are shrinking, although disease is still there above and below diaphram. We saw for the first time the report from his original CT scan in January, which showed the extent of the tumors and was really shocking, so glad we didn't see it at the time. He has another 5 chemo sessions to go...and hopefully will be clear then.
    I hope you will manage to get much joy out of your year of Uni as possible. Look after yourself, as you have been through a tough time.
    Very best wishes for the future. Anne x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great news! Congratulations!

    Good decision to take a year off to recover, it will take a while both physically and mentally - but what a great feeling now! So happy for you. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. All good news Lauren! Sorry I haven't kept up lately but your bookmark was on my laptop and it was busted for a while and now it's back up and running! I have also been very busy shooting weddings and we have 71 weddings for 2010. Please let me know when you decided to get married in the future, we will come to England to shoot your wedding!
    I am also done with the full chemo treatments (sort of) and my PET scan shows I am clear. I was just about to get the port removed when the Oncologist decided to start me on a preventative Rituxan treatment program, every two months, for the next two years. This was a bit of a let down but also a positive thing. I sure dan't want this to come back and maybe these treatments will do the intended job.
    I see you are taking off from your university classes..Don't let that get away from you. Stick with it and get your degree.
    All the best, Bill Peary

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi lauren, ive just read and found your blog through something completely different i was looking for on google!!...I just had to read it....i totally know were you are coming from on all of this!!....I have Mediastinal NHL...im currently in remission!!....had 6 months RCHOP and 3 weeks radiotherapy!....What a good feelin remission is eh...i never thought id lead a normal life again!!...:-)

    I too had to take a year out from uni....i start back this september!!...am training to be a nurse!!.....and then hopefully a oncology nurse!...what a better way to give something back!...i finnished my chemo october 2009 and my radiotherapy jan 2010....am still tired sometimes....an still have the odd panick over...`this pain and that pain`.....`is it this???` and google google google!!...I had a PICC line fitted...which is the same as your hickmans, except in my arm...you prob know that!...LOL...hey, would be nice to chat to you...feel free to email me....kathy14@hotmail.com

    I have my check up on 18th August 2010...bit nervous!....hope your recovering well!!...

    Ps....my hairs grown back REALLY fast!....and CURLY!!!...hahah

    Kathy...x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oops I havent looked at this for a while.
    That's great about the end of your chemo Bill. I suppose that next lot of treatment you are having is a small price to pay for your health! As for the wedding photos...I'll have to find someone I want to marry first haha!

    Things are going well for me at the minute. Got myself a part time bar job that I start next week and have my 3 month check up Aug 16th so fingers crossed for that.

    Kathy...I think I've added you on facebook. If I've sent the message to the wrong person then...oops!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just found your blog. As a fellow cancer survivor, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Also...Great Blog! You are a credit to the cancer blogging community. I have added you to my blogroll, “Cancer Blogs Lists” with over 1200 other personal cancer blogs at www.beingcancer.net, a cancer networking site featuring a cancer book club, guest blogs, cancer resources, reviews and more.
    If you have not visited before or recently, please stop by. If you agree that the site is a worthwhile resource for those affected by cancer, please consider adding Being Cancer Network to your own blogroll.
    Now that you are listed, you can expect to gain a wider audience for your thoughts and experiences. Being Cancer Network is a place to share and communicate.

    Take care, Dennis (beingcancer@att.net)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lauren! Cancer free! I just stumbled on your blog doing research for my own case which sounds nearly the exact same. I can't wait to have the chemo and cancer out of my body and I hope that you are enjoying life free of both. Thanks for the blog it kicks my blog's butt.

    Braden

    ReplyDelete
  9. Medical professionals feel that their studies indicate this Lymphoma is in most cases connected with some form of immunodeficiency, including HIV infection. It also has been shown to attack people who have experienced some sort of transplant, for which they have deliberately had their immune systems surprised in order that their bodies will accept the transplant. http://www.health-tourism.com/lymphoma-treatment/thailand/

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd like to Hair Transplantation. But I could not find a suitable hair transplantation center.
    Saç Ekimi

    ReplyDelete
  11. You can do it, you have to live and your family needs you. I wish you all the best and may your cancer treatment centers help you through.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?

    Thanks,

    Cameron

    ReplyDelete