Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

The 30 Year Itch

I am coming up on a day that I never thought I would see.  In fact, many who have been in a similar situation would never think of seeing this day.

As my counter shows on the lead page, I am approaching my 30th year, in remission of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  But in order to get to that wonderful milestone, that means that there is another milestone that I get to first.

Over the course of the next sixteen months, as I often do, I will be remembering all too vividly, and not by choice, every day that I went through, because it still haunts me.  This milestone journey will be different than in the past.

My daughters were not around during my battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  They will proudly state that I am a long term cancer survivor, though they have no idea what I went through.  As they are older now, I have decided that it is this milestone path, they will now be told how I, and how they came to be my daughters.

For some of you reading future posts, it may be a sad reminder for you, and I apologize.  For some of you, too new to understand the progress made in diagnosis and treatment in thirty years, it may help you to keep things in perspective if you find yourself struggling emotionally.

But it started thirty years ago with an itch.  You cannot see it in this photo, taken just now, but there was a huge lymph node just under my chain.  An unbearable and instant itch drew my attention to a large lump in my neck.  At a young age of twenty-two, I was not thinking anything more than, I need to contact my family doctor.

I am a virtual stranger to my doctor as I really on had visits once a year for a seasonal allergy shot.  But this lump was something that was clearly not normal.  So I made a call to my doctor, who happened to only be the second primary care doctor in my life (my first practiced well into his 80’s).

My doctor felt it was some sort of infection, perhaps just a little more than a cold.  He gave me some anti-inflammatory medicine and told me to just take it easy for a couple of weeks.  A simple enough order from the doctor.

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