Hello everyone, my name is Victor M., I am 27 years old, and I am a LNH patient who, today, is completely cured. I hope that by telling my personal experience I will be able to help someone.
Everything began in September when I felt a small pain in my back that, slowly, began to increase until it expanded to my legs. After several visits to the emergency room and the general practitioner everything pointed to be a slipped disc. The solution for the diagnose was a resonance but due to social security's passivity or overbooking, the date kept on changing so I decided to go to a private orthopaedic doctor and here is where my story begins.
Once I was at the orthopaedic consult, and after a quick examination, the doctor decided to do an ultrasound scan, according to his words, "for routine, we have the machine so we might as well use it" and his surprise was that he found an 8x7x7cm. mass in my abdomen. He told me I should not worry but he had to do an urgent TAC. Obviously I got scared and on the next day they performed the TAC and it revealed a 7x9x6,5cm. mass in the retroperitoneal zone and it all pointed to be a Hodgkin Lymphoma according to the radiologist.
With this report I went to the emergency room at Clínico de Santiago de Compostela (CHUS) hospital, they admitted me and after a lot of testing, TAC, PET, resonance, ultrasound, mass biopsy... (it is important you know that you don't have to be scared of these tests for they don't hurt, maybe they are annoying but you have to believe the doctors when they tell you it will not cause pain) they told me I had diffuse large B-cell Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, state IV-Bulky-A and that the mass I mentioned before had another epidural and paravertebral mass that affected the L2-L3 vertebras, which caused my back pain.
They then took me to the haematology floor and it was there when they explained to me what my disease was and what my treatment would be; 6 cycles of chemotherapy separated by 14 days each. I want to say that back then I was totally lost in every aspect, which is normal when you have no clue of what awaits, and what awaited me was less tough than the idea we all have of cancer and chemotherapy.
I started the first cycle and divided it in 5 days, 3 of which I felt good and the last two not so well, with a lot of dizziness, but that only happened during the first cycle.
When the first cycle ended they sent me back home and I decided to do the remaining cycles in an ambulatory hospital every 14 days. When the time came, I went in the morning to the hospital, ran some blood tests, got the results and did my 5 hour chemo (which you can handle perfectly, I even fell asleep) and when I was done, I came back home and waited for 14 days when the next cycle would begin, and like this until I completed all six cycles.
Personally, I felt worse after the fifth day after undergoing chemo, not because I was in pain but because I felt down, tired and didn't want to do anything, but it is only a few days where you're not feeling too good, the rest are perfectly bearable.
After finishing chemo they performed another TAC and PET and on Wednesday 14th, March 2012, after seeing my results, they told me I was completely cured but I had to keep attending regular follow ups because the disease can reappear, although if I complete the first year without problems, the possibilities decrease. Right now I am awaiting a resonance result to see how my vertebras are.
In conclusion, I was very scared when they told me what I had but I think it is because I had no idea what I was going to have to go through, actually, if I relapse, it would obviously be a severe blow but I wouldn't be scared because now I know what it is, and what it is, is that the word sounds scarier than what the disease really is. Therefore, I want to support those of you who are suffering and tell you to never surrender, optimism and a strong will are as important as chemo in order to get better.
Warm regards to everyone and, if you allow me, especially for my parents and my brother who were crucial in my recovery and to whom I will be eternally grateful.