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Lymphoma and Pets
T-Cell Lymphoma? No Way, Not My Son! Part I
Back in August of 2012, our 23-year-old son DJ started to experience some “weird health problems.” First, let me say that he had not been to a doctor for a sick visit since about the age of 2.
He was very active and always in great physical condition. He played sports, and at the time he was playing in softball leagues about three or four times a week.
He was also an avid hunter and fisherman. He worked full-time at an excavating company through the week and had to be doing something all of the time. He plays the guitar and sings in church - just on-the-go all of the time.
It All Stared with a 'Pulled Muscle'
He started to complain of his chest and shoulder hurting for a week or so. We contributed it to falling pretty hard while catching a fly ball one night at softball. It never seemed to get better, so I took him to the urgent care where they said it was just a pulled muscle and gave him some medicine. A week or so later, no improvement.
Then one evening he called me and said that his chest was hurting and felt like he was having a heart attack or something. We went to the hospital ER that night, and they said “pulled muscle in chest.” They did blood work, an EKG, etc., but still no indication that anything serious was wrong. They offered to give more pain pills and muscle relaxers, but we told them he already had those, so we just went home.
Then a Lump Appeared
Two days later, a lump appeared between his collarbone and neck area. Still not having any clue that something serious was going on, he went to the urgent care again thinking it was an infection or something. The doctor on-call that day (divine intervention) took one look and told DJ he needed to go over to the hospital for a CT scan of his neck.
Still not giving a thought of anything seriously wrong, I drove to meet DJ and my husband at the hospital when I left work. DJ came out from having the CT scan and told us that he needed to go see an ENT specialist the next day, and the following day they had scheduled for him to see an oncologist - or, in DJ’s words, a cancer doctor.
I said, “No, DJ, you misunderstood them. I’ll call the doctor now.” I called the urgent care and asked to speak with the doctor who sent him for the test. He got on the phone and told me that he was so sorry but he was afraid that DJ might have lymphoma and that was the reason why he ordered the scan. I was speechless, shaking, and scared to death!
The next day, we arrived at the ENT’s office, and he confirmed the suspicion of lymphoma and wanted to schedule a biopsy and lymph node removal immediately. I called the oncologist who they had scheduled the appointment with and cancelled it. I told him that there must be some mistake and, until we had the biopsy results, I could not possibly accept that DJ had cancer!