Sunday 24 June 2012

Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Take Three!

In a nutshell, for those of you that have never heard of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, it is a type of cancer; more specifically, a cancer of the lymph nodes.  In the UK, young adults (aged 20-34) and senior citizens (aged 70-79) are the two age groups most at risk of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and men are generally at slightly higher risk than women; It has recently been estimated that 1 in 440 men will be diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma within their lifetime, in contrast to 1 in 500 women.

Personally, it was a few weeks after my 28th birthday, towards the end of February 2009, that I was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma; the disease later relapsed shortly before April 2010, and has just relapsed again in mid June 2012.  The timing of my initial diagnosis fell pretty much exactly where the statistics would predict, and was coincidentally also on the median age of onset for the disease; the only slight deviation is that for the specific type of Hodgkin's Lymphoma of which I was diagnosed, i.e. Nodular Sclerosing, it is of slightly higher risk in woman for the younger age groups.

As you might imagine, in the last few years I have had quite a few different tests and treatments, as a result of the Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and one of the things that I really wished I'd taken the time to do previously was write a blog about my experiences of it all; partly as a convenient way to keep family and friends informed of my progress, but also to provide a patient's perspective on the various aspects of the treatment, as sometimes there is no substitute for a first-hand account; for example, the list of potential side effects for a chemotherapy regimen can give you very little idea of what it is really like.

With all of the above in mind, in the coming months, I hope to write a series of posts that describe my experience of the latest round of tests and treatments, whilst also occasionally winding back the clock to cover the history to date; There will be posts about things like: does a bone marrow biopsy really hurt that much, how does chemotherapy make you feel, does it all change your view on life.  It may surprise you to hear, but intermingled between it all, there are quite a few funny stories to tell!

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