Song - Artist - Album
Alone Down There - Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica
Cody Lee is a WHUS family member who was recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma. He has decided to keep everyone up-to-date with his experience by occasional postings on WHUS.org. Cody joined WHUS in the summer of 2010 and is currently a sophomore at UConn. If you'd like to get in touch with him, you can email him here. Cody's first post is here.
I’ve decided to keep this in journal form. My first post was made on the 19th and I was too sick to write yesterday. My plan is to write a short bit for every day and then post them once a week. Anyway, I’ll get you all caught up on the last two days. I was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, which is most common in AIDS and HIV patients. They did a blood test, and I’m clear, so that’s good news. Yesterday, I got a PET scan and they confirmed that the only tumors I have are the lymph node on the right side of my neck, the one in my liver, and the one on my kidney. I was a little concerned about the chemo causing permanent damage to blood vessels, and the tumor permanently damaging my liver. However, my doctor says that because of my age, I should make a full recovery. I haven’t started the chemo as of yet, but last night they gave me a drug to help break down the tumors once chemo starts. That one did make me sick unfortunately, and I vomited for the first time in six years. All my blood work is still coming back showing that I’m completely healthy, so when chemo does start, they expect me to handle it very well.
I’ve been pretty miserable lately. The chemo has started and I have a horrible metallic taste that won’t quit. I finished most of my procedures. I got a port put into my chest for the IV injections, and I got a spinal tap. Neither was really that bad. I’m also rather tired so this blog might not make much sense. Food doesn’t taste good anymore. Not even apple juice. I used to like apple juice. But in all honesty, it’s not that bad yet. I’m starting the Red Devil today. It’s the one that makes your hair fall out and causes all sorts of pain. Hopefully I don’t have too much issue with it.
It’s just about time for me to post again on this blog, so I figure I should wrap of this week. I don’t plan on editing any of this, so the mess that I wrote before will remain the mess it was when I wrote it. This is for two reasons. The honorable and official reason is that I want people to get a more real sense of the state of mind I’m in while going through chemo. The actual reason is that I’m lazy. But to be fair, I’ll clarify things on my good days like today. The chest port I mentioned is a really cool device that was surgically implanted into my superior vena cava just above my heart. This is to ensure that no matter how bad I get, and no matter how flat my veins go, they will ALWAYS be able to get the poison to me. I refer to chemotherapy as poison because that’s what it actually is. The idea is to poison cells during division and do it just right so the cancer dies before the person with the cancer.
The Red Devil didn’t go too bad. I have still neglected to learn its real name, but all the doctors understand what the Red Devil is so it doesn’t really matter if I get it right. I still have all my hair but I expect that to be a matter of time. And aside from two days, I haven’t felt too bad. Being sick isn’t really all that miserable though, I mostly just get extremely tired and sleep through it. The thing that helps the most on my bad days is to just deal with it. If I get upset about feeling sick, it gets worse, but if I accept that I really can’t do much for the next 6 months anyway, then I feel more or less alright. For the most part, I spend my days slightly light headed with a slight headache. This is either because the lighting in my room sucks, or because of the fact that once a week, I get chemo injected into my spine as a precaution against getting cancer in my brain. Thus far, it’s only been in my liver, kidney, and one lymph node. We would like to keep it that way.
Speaking of my progress, I realize that I neglected to say that the only tumor I could actually notice (the one sticking out of my neck) was almost completely gone within a few days. It’s to be expected that with aggressive forms of cancer, chemo will be extremely effective. This is due to the fact that (as I said) chemo targets cells during division, and aggressive cancer cells are always dividing, and therefore always vulnerable. I’m aware this is a gross simplification, but it covers the basic idea.
Anyway, this entry has gone on long enough (partly to make up for the lack of entries during my sicker days), and I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted.