One night back in January, I woke up to severe pain near my jaw. There was a lump about the size of a golf ball. I went to urgent care as they opened that morning. I was told I had an infected lymph node and was prescribed amoxicillin and steroids. I finished all the meds and was feeling a lot better. A week went by and it had come right back. This time I decided to go to my primary doctor. She prescribed a seven day supply Clindamycin and more steroids. I took the Clindamycin for 5 days and was starting to feel better but, I was leaving for Atlanta the next day for one the biggest cheerleading competitions of the season. I was worried I would finish the meds and it would come right back. I called my doctor and she prescribed another 5 days worth. While in Atlanta, I broke out in a horrible rash. I had no idea what it was. I got home and called my doctor first thing. She told me to come straight over. It ended up I was allergic to the Clindamycin. She then felt my lymph node and told me to see an ENT. (Eat nose and throat doctor) and a dentist. I went to the dentist first hoping it was caused by an infected tooth. It was not but, he did prescribe me more antibiotics because he could see that it was very swollen. I made an appointment with the ENT and went 2 weeks later. The ENT ordered a CT scan. I went for the CT scan and the doctor called that day telling me there was some concern in the lymph nodes in my parodied saliva glands on both sides of my neck. I need to get a biopsy. Soon after that appointment I got real sick again with a cold. I had to put the needle biopsy off until I was completely well. I finally got into get the biopsy on April 4th. It was a horrific experience but I had gotten it done. On April 16th, I got the call from the ENT explaining that I had Lymphoma. The biopsy did not give them much information and I was told that I would need to go in for surgery to remove a lymph node for a biopsy. On April 19th I had that done. I scheduled and appointment to see the oncologist in the meantime. On April 26th I had my post op appointment with the ENT. This was the day I was told that I have Low Grade Follicular Lymphoma. The following day, April 27th, I went in to see the Oncologist. He and his staff were incredibly passionate. They explained every detail of each of my pathology reports and what all the medical terms were. They explained the type of cancer I have is an incurable one but one that can be beat down and put to sleep. They informed me that I needed a PET scan to see what other areas were affected. I had the PET scan done on May 2nd. On May 7th, Dr. Tsao (the oncologist) called me first thing in the morning. He explained the areas involved were my lymph nodes in my neck on both sides, my chest, my arm pits and in my abdomen and groin. Just lymph nodes. None of my organs were affected yet nor my bone marrow. On April 10, I went to his office and he completely went over the results again. Giving notes on everything. He explained that the next step would to be chemo, 2 consecutive days a week, once a month for 6 months. He said I should be feeling better in a few treatments and the swollen lymph nodes causing me pain right now would get smaller. He walked me into the area where the chemo treatments are done so I would know what it looked like. My first round of treatments are scheduled for May 16th and 17th. He explained to me the first day should only last up to 2 hours and the second day would be 7 hours!
Since my diagnosis, it’s been hard for me to tell people. The people who I have told have been incredibly supportive! I am blessed to have such amazing people encouraging me and letting me know they are here with me and for me when I need them. This is to all of you... be ready because I do need you and I’ll need you every step of the way!!