One day I noticed a big lump up on my knee. I was so scared I cried for an hour. On closer inspection, it turned out to be my nipple. Moral of the story: breastfeeding ruins your boobs. Anywho on with the blog…
You are probably wondering how the cancer could have gotten to the advanced stages without me having a light bulb moment along the way. You are also probably wondering what my symptoms were so you can check yourself to prevent a shandy attacking your family too.. HYPOCONTRICATS UNITE… I don’t blame you though because it can honestly happen to anyone, anytime and Cancer doesn’t discriminate.
I was about 3 months pregnant when my cancer decided to set up camp in my chest (there is a lot of vacant land there as most of my cells like to congregate across the border in Thigh & Ass Country). Yep, 0 – Stage 4 Cancer in 6 short months, that’s some crazy MOFO shiznik right there! Even though HL ( look at me abbreviating like I know stuff) is an incredibly aggressive cancer, when your body is working overtime to protect your little baby from ultimately dying, your immune system basically says “Soz, but you on your own Helen”
While I was pregnant there were several things that happened that I just put down to pregnancy and life in general with a 2 year old. I look back now when I have my quiet moments and think is there something crucial I missed? a sign? a stand out symptom? But to be honest the list of symptoms for Lymphoma are pretty much the same as the shit list for pregnancy. After the initial hospital visit, we went through all of my symptoms I had while I was pregnant that are also Hodgkin’s related. Now anyone who has been preggers or been around a crazy …I mean pregnant woman, would be able to see why these didn’t exactly send off alarm bells.
1. Generally Felling Unwell …… Every. Fucking. Day. for 9 months
2. Night Sweats …. It was summer, I was the size of a double door fridge and have you ever tried rolling over in bed with a hippo attached to your waste
3. Swelling of the abdomen …. Ummmmm?
4. Shortness of Breath….. I needed 6 months of training and 5 Litre’s of fluid to walk to the fridge or tie my shoes
5. Ability to sneeze, fart and piss yourself simultaneously …….NOT a Lymphoma symptom apparently
6. Unexplained weight loss – I FUCKING WISH ( put this one in for a laugh because it’s the only one I wouldn’t have minded…yep still shallow )
7. Fever and Chills: Also known as withdrawal from Alcohol and a social life ( or regularly eating a bowl of ice cream the size of my face )
So as you can see there really wasn’t a lot I could put my finger on and when you are pregnant you feel like a bag of buffalo shit most of the time. The only major thing that happened was that I constantly had the flu for 6 months of my pregnancy. The thing about that was it was also Kai’s first year at Kindy so he was Snot Boy and everything he touched turned septic, so that was me. I remember there was a doctor that I had through the antenatal check-ups that you go to. Every time he saw me he would say “ you look really, really unwell Amy“ but I always made a joke about being between spray tans and really hungover so he never really followed up. I did however go to the GP throughout the 6 months as I was so ill and every few weeks I would beg them to give me something, ANYTHING to help me get rid of the flu. Of course there was nothing apart from Olive Leaf Extract and Manuka Honey. One of the Doctors did a swab test on my nose and FUCKING HELL if you have ever had one of those you’ll know about it . They stick a bloody pool cue up there and try to touch your brain ( might be there a while lady) . They actually make you sit on your hands while they do it so you don’t throat punch them! Anyway it came back that I had 3 different virus’s and a bacterial infection but still no one did any other tests. If they had done an x-ray on my chest the cancer was so big by that stage they would have found it. But no one did .They just kept palming me off and I kept going back for them to give me the same generic, nonchalance answer.
And this is why I have a very important message: If you feel like something isn’t right, don’t settle for a generalised diagnosis. Just because one doctor says something doesn’t mean it’s right. Seek the answers you need and ALWAYS get a second opinion because at the end of the day it’s your life, your body and by the time the real shit hits the fan, it might be too late. It nearly was for me and it’s a miracle Indiana and I are still here.