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My Life with Cancer Prepared by: andypigeon70
August 4, 2007 Newsletter - Interviews - What's Up Eliters!

It all began, back in Sept 2006. I had an itch on my collar bone and as a normal reaction, went to scratch it. As I began to scratch but when I placed my hand there, I noticed two lumps. I called my family practitioner’s office and made an appointment. When I went to see her, she looked at them, felt them and said to me “We all have lumps everywhere” and passed it off. Being I don’t like going to the doctor’s often, I took her word for it.

Five days later, I had a fever, chills, sweats and ill feeling. I took Tylenol continuously for five days to try to alleviate my fever. Finally, figuring something was wrong; I went to the local walk in clinic in my home town. The physician on duty informed me that I could have a serious problem. He sent me for blood work, an Ultrasound, and chest X-ray. He called me back to the office where he explained that the lumps are my lymph nodes that are swollen. Lymph nodes are a big part of the immune system. He explained to me that there were two reasons for the swelling, one being infection and the other being cancer. He then sent me to see a Thoracic surgeon. The surgeon explained to me that he would have to slice open my armpit to remove one of my infected lymph nodes.

The surgery was then set for Dec 18, 2006 -- one week before Christmas.  My then 12 year old daughter was living with me and all I had told her was the outcome could either be good or bad. My sister picked up my daughter the day of my surgery after school while my parents took me for my surgery.

Once I woke up, still a bit drowsy, the surgeon informed me that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, then he confirmed it was cancer. I got wheeled into the post-op room where my parents joined me. Needless to say, when you hear Cancer, you think death! Well, we went back to my parents place and all I had told my daughter that night was that it was the bad news I got, not the good one (good one being infection only). I told her I would tell her more the following day.

Well the next day, while she was in school, I looked it up and found out Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has a 95% cure rate. Cure, being 5 % chance of it coming back. Once she returned from school, I made sure to show her the stats I found on it using various web sites and told her the outcome was positive.

In January, I went for multiple testing, cat scan, gallium scan, ultrasound, blood work and the worst of them all, a bone marrow biopsy. Have you ever seen a grown man of 37 whimper while on drugs and holding his mom’s hand. And I thought I had a high pain tolerance, not with a bone marrow biopsy.

On January 31, 2007, I had to go to the hospital for them to insert my Bard PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Centralized Catheter).   It is a catheter that was inserted into my artery through my arm bicep region that goes about an inch from my heart. That line has a connection on it which they can connect my Chemotherapy IV on.   My first chemo treatment was on February 1st.  I was to have twelve treatments, once every two weeks.  My last treatment to be on July 5th. My oncologist suggested I have 12 treatments rather than 6 with radiation because he said that radiation could cause me more harm than good.  So the safe way is chemo only doubled.

Without knowing what to expect after my first treatment, the only side effects I experienced were vomiting and nausea.  The vomiting caught me as odd because I was told I vomited like a pregnant woman… you vomit, you feel good, no pain.   Gravol did nothing for me. Once I saw my oncologist again, he did prescribe me some good anti-nausea pills.

My oncologist told me I was going to be off work for the entire chemo duration plus another month or two for recovery. I was devastated considering my main support after my wife left 2 ½ yrs ago, was my co-workers.

I joined Eliters in late December and was introduced by sam42sask who was a TD in Cribp and also my sister ARivest1’s boyfriend. Therefore, I began playing in there. Once I began playing, I felt love. The strange part is, I was never the type to be very social online, because you never know who you’re going to meet. Well a lot of you who know me, probably don’t believe that line, but it’s true. I was a shy online personality. Anyways, most of the Cribp players got to accept me primarily because, though I was new, I was a brother and brother in law to known and liked players.

After my first couple of Chemo treatments, and feeling pretty strong about them, I began TDing in Cribp. I was TDing for a while but unfortunately, one of the chemo side effects being lethargy (tired and lazy) was kicking in more and more and my energy level diminished whereas I could not make commitments for TDing not knowing when I would have the energy. My HA, Calcinci6, understood and did not push me to make tourneys being she was very understanding of my situation, which I am grateful! I resigned as TD knowing that I would be returning back to work as well as having multiple medical testing coming up.

Back in February, I met and began conversing with a lady Eliter. And not being one to even believe in online friendships, I began believing. We started by being very good friends and even exchanged phone numbers. She taught me a couple of games, such as Canasta and Gin.

Anyways, without going into much detail about her, I would like to add that with that introduction, I ended joining quite a few Eliters leagues. I have made friends all through Eliters, too many to name, but you know who you are. I am known as a joker, a peace maker, a friend, a companion, a care giver, a flirt, and even a pervert. But, while off work, and with my lethargy, my social life has been Eliters. My blood family has done an awesome job as my supports, but I also have to give credit to my Eliter family who has kept me company in time of no or low energy. Also since my results have come back, my Yahoo has been dealing with pop-up hell with well wishes from my Eliters family members… feel the love, because I do.

If you are a new Eliter, feel free to say “Hi Eliters” when you enter a room… you will be greeted by loved ones. Keep in mind, we are not only players from different countries, we are Family !!!

Andy (andypigeon70)


 
 
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