Friday, October 21, 2011

D Day

Vanessa and I lived nearly 6 hours away from each other. Our friendship was maintained by hours of phone conversations each day. Her boyfriend was on business most days leaving her home alone, and available to chat with me. We could sit on the phone and laugh for hours. The silliest conversations made us laugh. I remember these 4 days as though they happened this week.

One day Vanessa had been talking to me telling me she thinks she slept wrong. Her neck and her back were sore and she spent the remainder of the day being uncomfortable. Again the next day she complained of the same soreness in her body but continued on laughing. We spent hours that day laughing about the word of a new password I had created for an account... the laughing would continue to make her sore, but we didn't hang up. On the third day she called me first thing in the morning hysterical. She cried to me that she had two large tumors on her neck. At that time I had been working in the medical field for about 4 years. I couldn't help but to giggle at her and tell her that I am sure it was her lymph nodes. I was certain she had an infection that would explain the soreness in her neck and back. Sure enough she went to the Doctor and was diagnosed with strep throat. Piece of cake, no tumors, and just some antibiotics.

The very next morning my phone was ringing at
5:00am. No one ever calls that early unless there is a problem. Confused and tired I answered a phone call from Vanessa. She was calm and collected. She told me she had gone to the emergency room. I jumped out of bed and ran to the other room to ask her why. She told me she had a spontaneous phneumo thorax. As I paced my house I told her it was ok and a phneumo thorax could be treated. I was bewildered on why she had a phnemo thorax and could not think of any reason. So then the bad news came. She explained they had done an x-ray and that showed the phnemo thorax, but then she had to have CT scan to find out why she had this condition. The results came back to show a large mass over her heart the size of a baseball. She told me more tests would have to be run, but the doctors were certain the mass was Lymphoma Cancer. I told her I was on my way and I would be there soon.

After hanging up the phone I looked up Lymphoma on the web. I found endless information about Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the prognosis looked great. The information calmed me on the web and I could not wait to get up to the hospital to tell her the news. To calm her and tell her how treatable this cancer is and what a great success rate it has. I drove for nearly 5 hours wondering how in the world this girl got cancer, but was relieved to know it was treatable and had a wonderful success rate. I hurried there as fast as I possibly could.

I arrived in
to the hospital she was admitted at. Her surgeon had come in and explained that they were going to biopsy the tumor and while she was in there she should know if this was lymphoma Caner. Then the unknown came out. She explained that she would pray it would be Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was confused and thought "well isn’t lymphoma cancer Hodgkin’s?" She then explained that there were many different types of lymphoma some more successful then others, but if you are going to be diagnosed with one, Hodgkin’s is the one to have. I awaited the surgery anxiously with Vanessa’s mom Allison. This had to be Hodgkin’s. This could not be any other Lymphoma. According to the web, Hodgkin’s occurs more frequently then the others.

Vanessa came back from her Surgery and the surgeon confidently told us she knew it was Lymphoma Cancer, and she was just keeping her fingers crossed for the biopsy results to be Hodgkin’s. The surgeon came back with a sad expression on her face. She explained it was Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The surgeon had made arrangements for an Oncologist to come in and speak with us. The Oncologist came in the room and shut the door. Closing the door never bares the best of news. I could feel myself sinking at Vanessa’s side. He explained to us that there were three main groups of Lymphoma Cancer. Nutricell Lymphoma, B-cell Lymphoma, and T-cell Lymphoma. In the three categories of Lymphoma lies over 30 different types of Lymphoma Cancer. We asked which of the 3 was the best possible to have. The Oncologist replied with "B-Cell" Crossing my fingers I then asked "and what do we have?" and he replied "T-Cell, the most aggressive and rare of all Lymphomas". The rest of his words were all blurred I couldn’t understand most of what he was saying because this all came on so fast.. One week ago she was fine and on a cruise with her boyfriend, and now, she has the rarest and most aggressive all of Lymphoma Cancers... how on earth could this be?

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