Sunday, 8 January 2012

January 8, 2012

Welcome to my first post of my first blog.  I have started this blog as an opportunity to share with family and friends my journey as I fight and heal from Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.  I am a private music teacher and teach voice, flute and piano.
I had been visiting family and awoke on Sunday, November 20, 2011 with an achy neck on my left side.  I also had a scratchy throat similar to what I get when I have a cold or my throat is extremely dry.  My thought was "Oh no, I hope I'm not coming down with strep throat!".  I got up and visited with my family and then continued on with our day of packing and returning home.  I started coughing violently during the drive home.  By the time I got home, I felt normal again and just put it all down to being tired and maybe sleeping in an odd position.

I taught on Monday, November 21 and noticed during a voice lesson that it was difficult to sing and again the scratchy throat showed up.  I put it down that I was tired from the long trip on the weekend.  I drank lots of water (like I always do) and continued to teach through the rest of the day.  My voice weakened as the day went on and by evening, I could not talk over the piano during piano lessons.  I felt a pressure at the base of my neck on the left side and it felt like the beginning of a boil or pimple.  I looked in the mirror and couldn't see anything or feel anything.

I taught again on Tuesday, November 22 and again my voice weakened througout the day and by evening was soft again.  That night, I felt a small lump at the base of my neck where the pressure had been the night before.  I asked my husband to feel it.  He immediately wanted me to call the doctor the next day and get it checked.  My thought was to delay and deal with it at my regular physical which was booked for Monday, December 5 (in 2 weeks time).

My husband nagged me again in the morning of Wednesday, November 23 and I just said I would have it looked at during my phyical in 2 weeks.  Again, on that Wednesday, November 23, I taught and my voice weakened as the throat continued to be scratchy.  I went to my chamber music session with some friends that night to play my flute.  I played for only 45 minutes and my left side of my neck was very achy in the muscles.  I was breathless as well.  While we stopped to discuss the music, I realized my voice was almost completely gone and my throat was quite scratchy and sore.  I announced that I needed to take a leave of absence for a bit until I got this under control.  I left early and went home.  I then called the choir director at my church and withdrew from the choir for a short period of time as it hurt to sing.  My husband continued to nag me to see my doctor.

On Thursday, November 24, 2011 (just 4 days after waking up with an achy neck), I called my family doctor and got in to see him.  I told him I had a goiter or a cyst or something going on in my neck.  He checked me over and poked and prodded me.  When finished, he said "This is not a goiter.  This is abnormal."  He went on to explain how lung cancer tumours can grow up into the neck.  He also explained out thyroid tumours can grow.  And he also mentioned lymphoma and I had never heard this word ever before.  He then gave me requisitions for blood work, an emergency throat ultrasound, an emergency chest x-ray and an emergency chest CT scan.  I went immediately from my doctor's office to the imaging lab to get my appointments made for the ultrasound and chest x-ray.  This was still on Thursday, November 24.  They were not able to book anything for me until Monday, November 28 at 3:25 p.m.  I indicated that my doctor wanted this to be an emergency matter and that was still the earliest appointment they could get me.  I asked the receptionist if I could be put on a cancellation list in case anyone cancelled on the Thursday, or Friday (Nov. 24 or 25).  They assured me that there would not be any cancellations as they had already confirmed all the appointments for the following day.  I was insistent and left my cell number for them to reach me if there was a cancellation.  I then left and went to the lab to have my blood samples taken and tested.  While I was teaching that afternoon, I received a call on my cellphone from the imaging lab and they had a cancellation for Friday, November 25 at 11:40 a.m.  I took it!

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