Finding out the Ugly Truth

8/20/2018

I found myself sitting in the consultation room eagerly awaiting my PCP, it was May 2nd,2018. She walked in with her laptop and started asking me questions like: what program was I studying, if I had any relatives in this country, when was I graduating from my grad school, where did my parents live and I answered them thinking.. well maybe she is being nice and is trying to get to know me. There was a brief pause of about 4 seconds where, I looked at her in anticipation and I knew I definitely did not have lupus and this was rather bad news. All of this started on 04/03/2018 when, I noticed the classic sign any Hodgkin’s or Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patient tends to see… a lump! I had mine on the left side of my neck, it was the size of a golf ball, not at all painful but it was there. I went to the health services department at my school, where I saw a nurse practitioner who ordered an ultrasound for me. I still remember, the day she examined me, she told me this could be some form of lymphoma and I also remember telling myself.. how can you have cancer, you’re 25! The ultrasound lead to my appointment with the PCP who got a CT- scan done for me, which came back with similar results, pushing her to order a neck biopsy for me! At this point, she suspected lupus since I did not present with any other classical symptoms. After those 4 seconds of pause, she initiated her sentence with: You have something called.. and I still remember my state of mind then.. everything went numb in me, my brain sort of froze as I knew I was diagnosed with cancer, and she continued..Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma! I asked her if we knew what stage it was and unfortunately a biopsy can only tell you the difference between black and white and nothing more. She asked me if I was okay and the first thought that struck me was, it was May 3rd, 2018 in India, it was my dad’s birthday and I remember that sinking feeling I got just with the thought of him starting HIS DAY with such news and so I decided to keep it to myself at least for a day, try and be okay with it and then share it, I replied back to her saying yes and left.

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