The Punxsutawney Phil Period

On Friday, November 23, 2018 I was officially diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 4A. This means that the nodes were found in three locations (neck and chest and sleep with insignificant signs in my stomach as well) and some bone marrow, but I am asymptomatic.

I was on a trip with my 10th grade students and some of the little turd balls were driving me crazy. So I rubbed my neck and felt an actual ball on the right side about two inches under my earlobe. Three doctors, four blood tests, a sonogram, a CT scan, a PET scan, a surgical biopsy, and a bone marrow biopsy later and it was official. A month and 8 days was all it took to change my life completely. I have the Big C. And that is a huge (sometimes literal) pain in my ass!

Fortunately, Hodgkin’s is very treatable and has one of the highest success rates, but there is still that “OH SHIT” feeling when a doctor sits you down and says the C word. Then of course you read all of the literature and the blogs and realize that you are in for the long hall to hell. Because no matter how positive this type of cancer is, it is still cancer. No matter how treatable, it still needs to be treated. And no matter how much love and support you have, you are still going into battle alone. It is just you and your body against some stubborn little cells and a whole lot of poison.

As always, I do better when I can write it all down. Not only was it encouraged by doctors and patients – you need to make sure you can see consistent patterns in your daily life to effectively communicate to doctors what is going on so they can best support you – but it will also be an outlet for me to find some sort of humor in this pisser of a situation. And writing out FUCK CANCER is pretty cathartic. Plus, as my students will corroborate, I hate repeating myself, so this is a fabulous way to let all of my support warriors know what is going on all at once.

My little life groundhog has seen his shadow and now I’m in for six months of cancer winter.