It has been a while since I have posted. I enjoyed a wonderful Summer visit with my daughters. They are back home with their mother, which can mean only one thing, return to school. And return to school means one thing, September.
My posts over the past several months have been recognizing “30th anniversary” marks throughout my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, treatments, eventually leading up to the 30th anniversary of the completion of my treatments, remaining cancer free for 30 years.
Having been diagnosed in November of 1988, that makes this September actually my “31st Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Awareness Month.”
Just as I counsel new cancer patients in learning to deal with remission, and combat fear of recurrence, I have literally taken things one day at a time. That first year being the toughest, with even the slightest similarity of a symptom causing a panicked fear of a recurrence. Before I knew it, I would hit five years, ten years, twenty-five years, and my thirty year mark is just seven months away.
It is really hard to comprehend the complexity and the paradox of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It is considered a rare cancer, in number at least, especially compared to lung, breast, and colon cancers. But it is known to have one of the highest cure rates at around 86%, up a few percentage points from 1988.
The frustrating thing for me, and other long term survivors, is that with a high cure rate as it has, a 100% cure has not been found. And we hardly ever hear of many new methods to treat it, with the majority of funding always going to the bigger cancers.
What I will tell you is this, that Hodgkin’s patients of today, have a great chance of survival, especially when it is caught early. And the treatments being used today are not near as toxic as what I and other long term survivors were exposed to, leaving us to deal with extreme late developing side effects.
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a blood cancer, so September is also recognized as Blood Cancer Month. Other blood cancers include Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
To all my Hodgkin’s friends and survivors, this is the month is our month. Make people aware of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. More importantly, make people aware that it is treatable.
I would be remiss though, if I did not recognize so many of my fellow survivors who are not here with us today, having passed away from complications of survivorship, or the Lymphoma itself. You are never forgotten.