Let’s do this.
Last time I updated this particular blog, it was early February, and I’d just gotten back from San Diego, where I’d been to the world premiere of my play, “Dark Matter.” Like most of my plays, I sum it up by saying “It is darkly comedic.” Everyone else sums it up by saying “Seriously like everyone in it dies.” In this particular play, there is some Cancer. Also, some Astronauts. Exploration of what it means to be Fearless. And Coming to Terms with One’s Own Mortality. It was the play I’d been trying to write for the past ten years, and it finally came true, and it was a beautiful production, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. That’s the poster up there that I’m posing with. Don’t I look excited, and not at all like I have cancer?!
Yeah. About that.
Nearly a year and a half ago, I felt a bump on the left side of my neck. I was told by my doctors to watch and wait, because I was thirty years old at the time and thirty-year-olds aren’t likely to have cancer. In the next year and a half, all kinds of wonderful things happened. I got a new job, teaching music at a preschool, and in completing “Dark Matter,” I told the story I’d been trying to tell ever since I was still in grad school.
I did wonder about that persistent bump on my neck, but since there were so many things it could be, and since “Calm the hell down, people your age don’t get cancer” is a pretty typical response, I didn’t do much about it.
(Doing much about it = EXPENSIVE, as it turns out.)
I’ll summarize the rest in a joyful, breezy timeline:
June 2014 - feel another lump, on the other side of neck. Freak out. Call PCP. Schedule appointment with ENT. Meet with ENT. Get told that the one lump in particular has been there awhile, and it would be wise to take it out and look at it.
July 15 — Have biopsy on original lump. Wake up in recovery room sharing, in a sing-song voice, how much I love working with children and also going to beer festivals.
July 18 — Get call that neck lump is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Become hysterical. Start scheduling many, many appointments.
July 20 — Calm down somewhat, enough to go berry picking and enjoy a honey-lavander milkshake while seated next to a goat at a berry farm in Porltand, Oregon.
July 23 — Meet my oncologist for the first time. Sit, astounded, to learn that while I will need chemotherapy, continuing to work with children during treatment shouldn’t be fatal.
July 25 — Have PET scan and learn that my diagnosis is Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Stage II A. This means that it hasn’t spread all that much and I’m fortunately without all of those gross B symptoms. (Night sweats, itching, etc.)
Week leading up to August 1st—SO MANY TESTS. And a “Welcome to Cancer” sort of orientation thing. I mean it was a “What to Expect at Chemo” class, but I think “Welcome to Cancer” sounds jaunty.
August 1st — 1st Chemo.
August 13th — the hair, it’s shedding.
August 14th — The Great Shearing.
Also August 14th — 2nd Chemo. Because I like to stay busy.
That’s where we are, currently three days after my second chemo. I find that I get kind of flu-like for two days, about two days after each treatment. Also, the smell of my wig apparently nauseates me during this time. FUN.
This isn’t the best summary I could have done, because I’ve already spent way too much time on the couch this morning and I’m getting antsy, but I wanted to kick-start this cancer-blog-venture, already, because I just want one place to share All the Things. So, hi, people who know me and want to know how my cancer is going, and also people who don’t know me and might want to know how my cancer is going.
For now, it’s going fine. The hope is that I’ll only need about four cycles of chemo (ABVD) and hopefully no radiation. For those keeping score, that’s two down, (maybe) only six to go. We shall see…