I was one of over 7,000 new Childhood Cancer cases this year, who knows how many of them being Hodgkins Disease. How do you think it feels to be a statistic?
Which Stage, Doc?
Luckily I didn't have to get my spleen taken out or have any other organs removed. I also didn't have to have that painful l-(whatever) test that they poke yer feet with needles and dye that I hear is so painful. But I did have to have a bone marrow biopsy, ouch! Those are painful, believe me. But, you'll only ache for about 3 days, give or take, so it's not so bad after the first day.
My bone marrow turned out negative, a very good sign. My doctors recommended that I have a port-a-cath installed, a little plastic or metal thing that is placed under your skin as an access port to stick needles in which directly connects into like one of your arteries via plastic tubing and saves you a lot of pain during chemo and even lets you keep your pretty veins in good condition. If you have the option, I highly recommend it! (Tell your doctor Dave said you want one!)
I went for a gallium (nuclear medicine) injection into my arm, didn't really feel a thing. I guess needles aren't so bad. Two days later I had to go back for scanning (painless) and also on the third day after. They were using me to test their machines, one was broken and they needed an isotope boy to re-configure it. (I kept walking a certain distance from the wall and the machine would pick up my gallium isotopes... hehe)
I didn't enjoy the testing on the third day after (two days of gallium tests a few hours each) because I had to sit on a tiny table perfectly still with my arms back over my head for nearly an hour and a half straight while this funky machine buzzed around me. My muscles weren't to happy after being stuck in that position. Other than a little positional discomfort I had no pain during any of the nuclear medicine tests.
Due to the explicit nature of this topic, I picked not to tell you about it. They give you a container marked biohazard and a little room full of videos, and say have fun. What else is new? :) Seriously though, they said that my treatment might make me sterile, so I take no chances!
CT Scan (cat scan)
After my meeting with my surgeon about the port-a-cath insertation surgery, I went over for a full body cat scan. These are very expensive, and pretty lousy (just mentally, not really physically). I had to drink 4 cups of colored half-sweetened iodine juice (bright pink). I didn't enjoy it. If you are diabetic, you get the one that isn't sweetened at all. Fun! (If you ARE diabetic, be sure to tell them before they give you the sweetened one!)
After I drank my juice in the waiting room over the course of the hour, I got changed into my gown, and taken to "THE ROOM". In the room I got hooked up to an IV (in my arm) and shoved onto a small table/bed thingie in the center of the machine. My IV machine flashed a red light, it was pretty funny. I sat still for the scan, and did all that pretty stuff. Easy, not very painful, just time consuming.
Port-a-Cath Surgery Day
I don't remember if this surgery was MAC or general anesthetic, but it sure wasn't local. I was out. They make sure you're out. Even if you wake up, you won't remember. The miracles drugs will do these days! I had to fast (no food or drink) from the 12 A.M. hour. I was sleeping, so I didn't mind. But not eating breakfast was depressing. Not like I was hungry after knowing what I was in for.
Signed in, got robed (completely naked except for robe and gown and slippers!), got a bed, waited a while, got some mind-altering anesthetic in the butt by injection (not too bad... it makes you feel real good!). After I got shot in the butt, it was about an hour and a half until surgery. The little slits in the tiles in the hospital waiting room were floating towards each other, and I was highly amused being completely high for the first time of my life. I was told later that I would speak half a sentence, fall asleep for five minutes, and wake up and complete the sentence as though I had just said the first half a second before. I remember making it to the operating room, and smiling at my anesthesiologist, who hooked me up to the IV. He smiled back, and I was out. I woke up in the recovery room a little bit later.
I said "oww" so they gave me a scale from 1 to 10. I said 7, so they shot my IV with morphine. It didn't really make any difference, but at least now I can say I had morphine. :) I had to lay there for a few hours, drink some soda, got dressed eventually, was wheeled out to the car. And left... complaining... "Oww!" "Oww!!" :)
I am really attached to my port. When I am bored I tap on it like it is a drum. Mine is plastic, some people have metal. When someone asks me why I am so strange, I pull down my shirt and shove my chest and port in their face, saying "DO I LOOK NORMAL TO YOU BUDDY?" hahaha. LOL. Hey, whatever works. :)