I know I promised updates, but I decided to wait until after my appointment with the oncologist today. So here are all the updates since my last note...
On Feb 11 (the day after surgery) I went back to the ENT to get the drain removed and a couple more stitches added. It hurt a little, but not too bad. I did well on the 11th and 12th. On the 13th I went back to work. My students were very happy to see me. I did pretty well most of the day. My head and neck hurt some and I was tired, but overall things were good. My wonderful husband-to-be met me at school after work and helped me get things ready for the following week and lug my piles of papers that needed to be graded to my car. During the day my stomach began to hurt a little, but I didn't think much of it. By the end of the night I was pretty sick.
We thought I was having a bad reaction to my antibiotic so we called the doctor and he told me to stop taking it. That didn't make things better so we realized that I just had a stomach virus. By late Monday night I was finally able to keep food down.
On Monday (the 16th) I went back to the ENT to get my stitches out and he gave us the results of the biopsy. I have a type of Hodgkin Disease (or Hodgkin lymphoma) called Nodular Sclerosis. I don't really know what it means, but I do know that its even easier to treat than non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I stayed home from school Tuesday because my body was still a little weak from the stomach virus and all that.
Today, Wednesday (the 18th) I had my appointment with the oncologist. First, however, I went to school for a few hours, got a note from yesterday's sub saying that my class was one of the worst she's ever had, chewed them out, and took away recess. (They weren't too happy with me, but the sub today said they were much better than they had been last week.) My oncologist is a very nice man. He works at Barnes in St. Louis and comes down to Cape one day a week. He is a lympoma specialist and that's pretty much all he deals with in St. Louis. He got things started right away. Today I had blood tests and a bone marrow test. For those of you with weak stomachs, I won't explain the process of that, let's just say its quite painful. I will be going back to the doctor this Friday and next Tuesday for more tests. Next Wednesday I will go back to talk to the oncologist and get my first round of chemo.
We don't know for sure yet what my treatment will consist of. We do know that I will have 4-6 months of chemo with two treatments each month (every two weeks). Hopefully that will be all, but we'll have to wait to know for sure. My doctor thinks I will be able to continue to work (which is great because I love my job) and is going to try to schedule the rest of my treatments on Friday afternoons so I will miss as little work as possible.
One downside of the chemo is that I will lose my hair, but its just hair. I can get a wig for now and my hair will grow back later. The doctor said I should have a full head of hair by our wedding! Matthew and I have had to change our plans a little bit. His uncle is a professional photographer in Springfield and was going to take our engagement pictures this summer, but now instead we get to push them up. I'm getting a cute (I hope) new haircut and we're getting fun pictures taken on the 28th. I'm actually REALLY excited about getting to make a trip to see his dad's family and take some cute pictures.
I think that's all of the updates I have for now. I want you all to know how much I appreciate the love, support, and prayers you have given me. The number of messages I've recieved has been unbelievable. I truly am blessed to have such amazing friends and family. I teach at a Vacation Bible School every summer and this past summer our bible verse of the week was "I can do all things through Christ because he gives me strength." This verse really means a lot to me. I know God will help me through all of this and before we know it I'll be cancer free!
Again, thank you so much for everything! I'll post more updates when I have them.