Hi, I'm David, and I was diagnosed with stage 3b Hodgkin Lymphoma in June this year, and currently am in my third cycle of chemo. Apologies for the long post, I am a bit of a story teller.... I consider myself to be extremely fortunate, which may seem strange after a cancer diagnosis, but I have many things to be positive about. Firstly, Hodgkin Lymphoma while both rare and malignant, is generally well understood and known to respond well to the established treatment regime (ABVD chemo). It also responds very well to newer immunotherapy treatments. Secondly, I am extremely lucky to be married to a senior Radiation Therapist with 25 years of experience, although she is not happy about being on the carer side of cancer treatment rather than on the treating professional side! This means that we know a lot of the people in the local cancer care centre personally, and while I don't expect any special treatment, it is reassuring to be dealing with people who know you. Thirdly, my treating Hematologist is held in very high regard by all who have dealt with him, he calls a spade a spade, and is approachable, thorough and caring. I am able to talk with him frankly and comfortably, and be my own advocate without upsetting anyone. Finally, I appear to be coping with chemo reasonably well, no nausea or vomiting, minimal fatigue, no digestive issues, and generally ok most of the time. I am able to exercise and do so on as regular a basis as I can (this is really important to me as a part of my treatment). However, I do get the chemo fog quite noticeably (I spent ten minutes walking around the house looking for my mobile phone, all the while talking to my mother on it...), and it appears my bone marrow is copping a hiding. I have been neutropenic and anaemic, and have had to have blood infusions and inject myself with courses of GCSF (stimulates the production of base white blood cells) to deal with this. Whilst I am something of an optimist, I am concerned about my emotional state, specifically in relation to the effects of the treatment drugs. Somewhat unusually, I haven't felt a lot of the negative emotions that a cancer diagnosis normally brings, mostly due to the factors detailed above. I have lost my scalp and facial hair, but this doesn't bother me as I was fairly bald to start with, although I miss my beard which was a bit of a chin pet.... But I have been suffering from stress/anxiety related physical issues (which I have had intermittently in the past 20 years) to the point where I have been through the local emergency department three times in the last 2 months (2 admissions with no indication of any physical causes). I have had to give up my part time work as a result of this as well. I am seeking professional support through counselling, and I have had discussion with my GP regarding the emotional side effects of some of the support drugs (Dexamethazone in particular), but I was wondering if anyone has any insights into this side of chemotherapy at all? Cheers! ☝️
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