Mod Note: Each day we'll be posting the top WSO forum posts of 2014. This one was originally posted on 11/24/14 and ranks #7 for the year by total silver banana count. You can see all our top ranked content here.
There were times when things seemed to sail along, from strength to strength and from triumph to triumph.
During these periods you can do no wrong.
Other times things go sideways and in spite of your best efforts they can stay that way, testing your mettle with one difficult life exam followed by another.
This is about one of those exams.
A little over a year ago I was on a plane to Toronto and in an attempt to release some painful muscle tension, I discovered an unusual growth near my collar bone. No pain, just one of those things you know is not supposed to be there.
When I got home, my normally easy going doctor was showing an unusual level of concern, and I was sent off for a minor surgery a month later to remove what turned out to be an offending lymph node. There are many reasons for this type of growth, but my doctor knew from prior experience that this type of thing is often a problem.
My surgery was on Halloween last year. 12 days later I had my verdict: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
I can assure you that no one prepares themselves for this type of thing, because you can’t. There is no simple explanation for how and why this happens, nor are there ways to describe how you might feel about it.
When your doctor tells you that you have a fight on your hands…that this situation is highly treatable….that there are no guarantees….and that his first patient 30 years ago had the same thing and is doing great…. It is at a moment like this that time seems to stand still.
Lesson 1: The words cancer and chemotherapy generate extreme emotions in many people. If you say you have lymphoma people are open and inquisitive. If you say you have cancer you are considered to have a death sentence and people feel a deep well of fear. Deep down they wonder if they are next. The skillful delivery of my diagnosis thankfully did not include either word.