Well, this is still a very hard thing for me to write about. But it has been very reassuring to me to have such a great group of friends and family reach out to help my family and I through this very difficult time. To give you all some background to my health I thought I would give you a recap as of today. I have been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma stage II. Back on February 17th at Providence Portland Medical Center I had a large tumor (about the size of a softball) partially removed during a VATS procedure (Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery). I was in the cardiac intensive care unit for three days before being moved to a room on the respiratory floor for a short time and then going home. Since the surgery, I have been healing and learning more about my cancer, and having many tests and medical procedures done to prepare for my treatment.
As of today things are looking quite favorable. Last week I had a PET scan, respiratory function test, echo cardiogram, and a bone marrow test (ouch!!!). I do not know the results of the bone marrow test yet, but everything else did not reveal any new problems. I am starting chemo this Friday and I have a lot of anxiety. I am nervous about my own strength, the strength of my family, and the future, but I have an abundance of hope.
Many of my wonderful friends have asked how they can help since they are too far away to bring by a meal or help me get my garbage can to the curb (which is quite a task). To help provide an easy way to help us, my brother is helping me set up an account at Bank of America where people can make deposits to an account. This would be a great help to Emma Lee and I as we drive over 500 miles round trip for my PET scans, bone marrow tests, and chemo appointments, over 140 miles for my radiation appointments, and 120 miles for my other doctors appointments. It will also help because I have very little sick leave left. Moving from Washington to Oregon I was unable to transfer my large sum of sick days from Evergreen to Hermiston and the Hermiston School District does not allow for teachers to donate time*. I am getting amazing help from many freinds in the district but any additional help is certianly welcome.
You can also help by staying in contact. During the initial days of my diagnosis, I found myself in deep worry many times but was quickly reassured by an incomming email, card in the mail, and other gifts of notes, flowers, and well wishes and prayers. This is the biggest challenge I have ever faced. The one lesson I have learned is that I can not be my normal self; independent, self-reliant, and private. I need to reach out and ask for help if I am going to beat this disease. So thank you for you help, prayers, and well wishes. I will continue to post to this blog with updates and hope to continue to hear from you all.
Thank you and look forward to tomorrow.