It’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog (almost 2 years since the last post!) that I don’t know if anyone is actually going to read this. But now there’s something I want to write about so that my future self and maybe child(ren) can read and learn/remember the details of what I’m about to go through.
So the whole ordeal started with a tingling feeling at the back of my throat. Like having a popcorn kernel stuck at the back of your throat and you can’t seem to get rid of it. This went on and off for about 2 weeks and then one night, I decided to take a look at my throat to see if I can find this “thing” that’s stuck there. Instead I found a relatively large piece of “flesh” grown out from my left tonsil and my tonsil looked swollen. So I do what most people would do in this day and age, I Googled this and it sounds like I have an infection on my tonsil. I thought it’d go away in a bit so I left it alone.
A week later the weird flesh is still there and it’s starting to make me gag when I sleep as it’d flop over and falls down my throat. At one point it was bothering me so much that I didn’t get any sleep at night. That’s when I decided to go to the ER (cuz it’s Sunday and all the walk-in clinics are fully booked by 8:30am…). The doctor at the ER took a look and said it looked like a tonsil infection and give me some strong antibiotics. She also thought the flesh looked weird and told me to see an ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist.
My first appointment with the ENT specialist was on Sept. 22, a few days before I had to depart for Hong Kong to attend a funeral. The ENT specialist also suspect an infection and since I was already given antibiotics, he didn’t do much but he did decide to take a biopsy of the flesh as, again, it look odd to him. After this, I was in HK for a week, suffering from the heat, the dirty air and some major sore throat (at some point I couldn’t even talk).
The Bad News
So I came back and see my ENT specialist right away to check my biopsy report on Oct 6. When I was at his office, he gave me the report and I scanned it and asked “So what does this mean?” to which he replied “It means you need to see another specialist.” I was like…ok. I scanned the report again and saw the words “BC Cancer Agency” and “lymphoma”. Right away I knew it’s cancer related. My heart sank but rather than feeling scared, I feel like the report just confirmed something that I was suspecting while I was in HK. Al on the other hand turned into a zombie when I told him what the report said. I think the news hit him much harder than it hit me.
On the same day that I’ve received this news, my family doctor also called and said he wanted to see me. I knew it was bad news. He basically confirmed that I have cancer, something called a large b-cell diffused lymphoma. He told me it’s “highly curable” (stage and subtype dependent) and that things will move forward rather quickly now so they can figure out what stage I’m in and what treatment I should get. All these news about cancer came on the same day and it was a bit hard to digest. Al was still stoned when we got home after both doctors’ visit. He was worried about me and I was worried about how others (parents, inlaws, friends) would take the news. At this point, I wasn’t feeling scared of what I’d be going through. I’m more worry about others worrying about me…I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, physically, mentally or emotionally.
Getting The Ball Rolling
2 weeks after my visits with the ENT specialist and my family doctor, I went in to the Burnaby General Hospital to see an oncologist on Oct 22 (exactly 1 month after I saw the ENT specialist!). First the good news is that I can finally get the process started and learn more about what’s growing inside me that’s giving me a lump on the left side of my neck. The bad news is that there’s nothing new the oncologist can tell me. Apparently the 2nd biopsy taken on Oct 6 was not a good sample. I was told that for a sample that needs to be examined for cancer, the biopsy should be done in an hospital so the sample can be taken straight to the pathology lab right away. My first thought is “Shit, this means they need to cut me again for another sample!” and I was right. The oncologist scheduled another tonsil biopsy for me with a surgeon, plus he got me to do blood work, a CT scan and a bone marrow biopsy. All these tests (besides the blood work) are new to me and honestly I don’t look forward to doing them. We ended the visit with no new information and a bunch of tests waiting to be scheduled. At least the ball is rolling now, even though it’s slow. After all these tests, we should be able to know more about this cancer and figure out the best treatment possible.
To be honest, I felt a little deflated because I was hoping I’d get more information after seeing the oncologist. Guess I’ll have to do more waiting…
Here’s what waiting looks like at our house… :)