Last updated on Tue, 16th Feb 2021
Today, 4th February, is World Cancer Day, a day to raise awareness and education about cancer.
Four years ago today, in 2016, I was in the middle of receiving treatment for Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had been diagnosed in December 2015, and at that point was in the middle of receiving ABVD chemotherapy.
Once every 2 weeks this was my view:
I’d be sat in a chair in the oncology day ward for between 7 and 8 hours each visit, as the various different bags of chemotherapy drugs were fed into me. One of the drugs only took 20 minutes to go in, but I seem to remember another one taking over 2 hours. And between each bag of drugs, my line had to rinsed and checked.
It wasn’t a fun time of my life. My energy levels were low, and I had to take a whole range of pills and injections to take between chemo sessions. But the upside was that the treatment worked, and by the summer of 2016 I was cancer-free!
And today the only lasting effects of the cancer are:
- a small scar on my right collarbone where a Lymphadenectomy was performed to confirm my diagnosis
- a small scar on my upper right arm where a PICC line was put in
- some ongoing pain on the souls of my feet from the peripheral neuropathy, which is a long-term side-effect of the chemotherapy
However, even though I had cancer, I count myself lucky. Hodgkins is one of the small number of cancers that doctors use the word ‘cure’ in terms of treatment. And the longer I go without any sign of recurrence, the greater the chance that it’ll never come back!
Of course, being obese doesn’t help my long-term prospects for avoiding cancer again, which I guess is one of the main drivers for me having the bariatric surgery to lose weight.