Thursday, April 26, 2012

And We're off!

These last two days were pretty big ones! We finally took some big steps in killing this nasty cancer and everything has gone really well!

I went in for surgery early Tuesday morning to get my port placed. This is a small device they place under your skin that gives them easy access to my veins. This way, I won't have to get stuck with IV every time I go in for chemo. They will simply access my port. Much easier!

The surgery went very well. I was a little nervous, but they only used the minimum amount of anesthesia and I woke up from it very quickly. I slept some that afternoon, but didn't get sick. Other than the fact that is was VERY sore, I did fine with it. Praise the Lord!

Yesterday we had an appointment with my oncologist and then started chemo afterwards.

The appointment went very well. We got a lot of questions answered and felt confident moving into treatment.

This is what we know so far.

1. I have Hodgkins Lymphoma
2. It is stage III but just barely. (The only thing that bumped it up to 3 instead of 2 is that I have 1 infected lymph node below my diaphragm.)
3. I will be taking the ABVD drugs for chemo as our primary treatment plan.
4. I will get treatment every other Wednesday for about 6 months. That is a total of 12 treatments.
5. He didn't see any tumors that he would consider bulky or big enough to treat with radiation. However, he will send us to a radiologist for a second opinion. (We are praying for NO radiation if possible because it has such high risks of causing other cancers)
6. He doesn't think it has spread to my bone marrow, but we will most likely do a bone marrow test once treatments are complete to be 100% sure.
7. After the 12th treatment, I wait 5 weeks and then get another PET scan and pray that it is CLEAN!!!

As for the chemo itself, there are quite a few possible side effects.
~I will probably lose my hair after about 2 weeks.
~I may experieince nausea, but they have given me quite a few drugs to prevent it.
~My nails may change texture and times. :-)
~ There is a change the drugs can negatively affect my heart and lungs, but the chances are low.
~There is a very low chance they can affect my fertility and cause other cancers such as leukemia.

The whole experience was actually not that bad. I literally sat in a chair and they pumped me full of medicine for about 2 1/2 hours. I was surrounded by other cancer patients going through the same thing and there were snacks and drinks that people donate that we could munch on. My mom and David were with me and we had a great time just talking and laughing and cracking cancer jokes. It was great! I did get very sleepy towards the end because they gave me benadryl to prevent an allergic reaction to one of the medicines.

Now we just wait and see what happens. I feel good today and hopefully that will continue!

I am so thankful that God has provided a way to treat this thing and given me such a wonderful support system to lean on. What a blessing!

It feels good to finally be doing something to get this disease out of me! The fight has begun and I WILL press on even when it gets hard!

1 treatment down and 11 more to go! I WILL beat this thing!


  1. I SOOOO want to give you a BIG hug! Just imagine it right now and maybe soon I'll get to Knoxville to give you one in person!

  2. I am so proud of you Leslie. You are an inspiration to so many people. I am glad to hear that everything went well and that you were able to find some humor in all of this. It's great that you have such supportive people around you. We are all cheering you on and praying for you. Sending you [[[hugs]]].


  3. Thank you for letting us follow your progress. You're inspiring and I will continue to pray for your strength and minimal side effects. Blessings! Cindy Wymer

  4. Leslie,
    I just stumbled upon your blog and can't believe how many young people in my circle of aquaintances have been affected by cancer lately.

    I was diagnosed with early cervical cancer two years ago, at age 23. Luckily, all it took was a biopsy to remove the cells--no chemo or radiation. But it changed the way I look at the world, and it made me realize that God has a much bigger plan out there for us than we have for ourselves.

    My heart hurts to hear about your struggle but you seem to be doing, from the way your entries sound, quite beautifully. I will be keeping you in my prayers and hope that your healing is as quick and painless as possible.

    Wishing you blessings,
    Christen Miller

  5. My family and I go to NorthStar. I heard that you had started a blog, so I wanted to come pay you a visit. What a brave and strong person you are. I know that God is going to use you in a powerful way. What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. Hey Leslie, I'm so glad to read your blog. Your positive attitude is such an inspiration. Your words reminded me of a couple of scriptures I just read. Jer.1:9 Lord, put forth your hand to touch me. Put Your life-giving and healing words in my mouth. Matt. 17:7-8 You came and touched me. I will arise and not be afraid. I will lift up my eyes to see no man except Jesus. We love you guys and as always you are in our prayers. Looking forward to seeing you guys the next time you are in Pittsburgh. Love Mrs. J