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Lymphoma and Pets
Keeping Your Mind in the Right Place: Dwane's Story, Part II
This two-part article was written exclusively for LymphomaInfo.net by Dwane Reed, a lymphoma survivor. He shares how he fought through his illness and who he thanks for being alive today.
On Monday, Feb. 11, only two weeks after the diagnosis, I was having a port placed in my chest and began my first week of chemotherapy. I would stay in the hospital for five days doing R-CHOP with Etoposide, have two weeks off and then treatment for two weeks. During that first week I met other patients, talked to them and got advice from them.
The number one piece of advice I could give anyone is: Keep your mind in a good place! Establish a daily routine. I would start my day with breakfast and reading the paper. I would then go to cardio rehab and spend one hour on the treadmill. Afterwards, I’d go back to my room and have lunch or shower depending on the changing of my IV bags. I usually had visitors and rested in the afternoon. I would have dinner and go for a walk around the hospital. I found that the walking and moving around helped me with the nausea and would help the gasses escape from my body. The exercise helped me keep my head in a good place. I was determined not to let cancer get me!
During my second week off, after the first round of chemo, the Browns called us and said that if we wanted to see Carlie alive, we had to come right away. We went to their house and when we went in the room, Carlie reached for me and I held her as she cuddled with me. She pushed back and our eyes locked and our spirits talked. I knew God sent me an angel to save my life.
The next week while I was in chemo, Carlie passed away. I was able to make it to the funeral and at the services learned that at 23 weeks they knew they had a problem with the baby and almost terminated the pregnancy. I thanked God that they did not as Carlie saved my life. I was not sick, and we found a high grade stage one lymphoma.
Did I have times when I felt down and exhausted? Yes!
I liken it to a half marathon. At about mile eight, treatment week four, you are wondering what the heck you are doing. You are wondering why you got yourself into this run. But by mile 10, treatment week five, I was determined to finish the race no matter what.
I completed treatment the last week of May. I had a PET scan July 10, and it had a hot spot, so I went for another colonoscopy and found that we had caused scar tissue that was blocking the bowels worse than the tumor. I had surgery July 19 and had one and a half feet of my colon removed along with 32 lymph nodes, all of which were clean of cancer. I will have my port removed Aug. 30 and be done.
Stay focused, surround yourself with positive and be ready.