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Last modified on
Tue Mar 12 2002 21:47:34 PST

Diary

Post-treatment - Year One



Index

Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 1998 May 4-10, 1998 September 14-20, 1998
February 9-15, 1998 May 11-17, 1998 Sep. 28-Oct. 4, 1998
Feb. 23-Mar. 1, 1998 May 25-31, 1998 Oct. 12-18, 1998
March 2-8, 1998 July 20-26, 1998 Nov. 2-8, 1998
March 9-15, 1998 August 3-9, 1998 Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 1998
March 23-29, 1998 August 10-16, 1998 Jan. 4-10, 1999
March 30-April 5, 1998 August 17-23, 1998 Jan. 11-17, 1999
April 6-12, 1998 Jan. 18-24, 1999
April 27-May 3, 1998


  • Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 1998

    • Friday - Went to dentist today for normal teeth cleaning. It's been a year since the last one. I did not want to have a cleaning while on chemo. Also, Dr. did not want me to floss during chemo, but I wasn't much of a flosser anyway. They had some gum bleeding during cleaning and I got a bit of a lecture about flossing. After I told them I was on coumadin and had just finished eight months of chemo, they decided my mouth was great!

      X-rays showed a shadow between two teeth, but they couldn't find any softness. Decided it was decalcification caused by chemo. They prescribed a Fluoride gel (PreviDent) and 1,000 mg of C a day. Pharmacy told me that PreviDent was not covered by my Aetna insurance and charged me $13.99. I called Aetna when I got home. They said it should have been covered but put in an override "just in case".

    • Saturday - Went back to pharmacy. They submitted the prescription to Aetna again and this time it went through. Cost me 95 cents instead of $13.99. Still having skin flaking on face and head. Guess I will contact my PCP.


  • February 9-15, 1998

    • Monday - Finally got around to going to my PCP about my face and head flaking. She said that it looked like a typical winter dry skin condition and prescribed Lac Hydrin, a strong moisturizer lotion. However, since I had just had eight months of chemo and never had this condition before, she gave me a referral to a dermatologist. First appointment available is almost a month from now.

    • Wednesday - One month appointment with oncologist. Got chest x-rays, exam, counts, and flush. Everything looks good. No signs of HD, continued improvement of lung fibrosis, and counts well into the normal range (WBC - 7.1, RBC - 4.66, PLT - 277). Will see him again in two months. We will do the complete scan thing at that time. Will have port flush in one month of course.


  • February 23-March 1, 1998

    • Tuesday - My wife found a lump (22 mm) on my left forearm over the weekend. After some poking around I found another lump (10 mm) on my other forearm. Since I am now relapse vigilant (paranoid?), I decided to see the oncologist about them.

      He said that they are probably benign intradermal cysts and are very unlikely to be malignant. In any case they are too close to the surface to be a Hodgkin's relapse. The plan is to wait and watch.



  • March 2-8, 1998

    • Tuesday - Finally got in to see the dermatologist about my face and head flaking problem. Said it was seborrheic dermatitis, something he sees a lot of in the winter. Did not believe that it was related to HD or chemo. Did say that skin problems sometimes flair up when comming off steroids. So chemo could be involved. Prescribed Nizoral, a prescription shampoo and ionil-T, an over-the-counter shampoo. Also prescribed a prescription cream that was a combination of Sebizon and Hytone. Next appointment with him is in three weeks.


  • March 9-15, 1998

    • Tuesday - Went to pulmonologist with my last two sets of chest x-rays. Things continue to improve and are very close to normal. I think he would like to continue seeing me forever (could this have anything to do with his income?), but at my suggestion, he decided that we were done. No more visits to the pulmonologist unless there are further problems.

    • Wednesday - Port flush. Nothing more, nothing less.


  • March 23-29, 1998

    • Thursday - Follow-up with dermatologist. Seborrheic dermatitis is almost gone. Thinks we should just continue with the same treatment. He added a third non-prescription shampoo to my rotation (Reme-T). Says I will probably have this problem from time to time and wants me to see which shampoos work best for me.

    • Saturday - Here we go with another round of scans. The first set since start of remission. Got gallium shot today.


  • March 30-April 5, 1998

    • Monday - Got gallium scan. Same old thing.

    • Wednesday - Was supposed to have my CT scans today, but what remains of my chemo brain pulled an April fool's joke on me. I forgot to drink my barium, so I had to reschedule.


  • April 6-12, 1998

    • Monday - Had delayed gallium scan today. Also scanned my forearms to see if lumps were gallium avid. Finally had my CT scans. Remembered to drink my barium last night. Yum yum.

    • Wednesday - Saw oncologist today. Scans showed no change. He was happy with physical exam. Counts were good (WBC - 4.6, RBC - 4.95, PLT - 258.) Feel stronger, have more stamina, less chemo brain, and lost five pounds of the fifty or so I should loose. Things are looking great except for the lumps in my forearms. I now have about a half dozen, and it seams like the largest has grown a little. Oncologist still thinks they are nothing, but we agreed that one should be removed and checked. Am in the process of getting that scheduled.


  • April 27-May 3, 1998

    • Monday - Saw surgeon today about lumps in my arms. He said the same thing as the oncologist ... that he sees lots of these, that they are almost certainly lipomas (lumps of fat), that they don't cause any problems, and that he would normally send me on my way. However, because of my lymphoma history that it was probably a good idea to remove one from each arm. Then, even though it would be obvious that they are lipomas (said they have a distinctive appearance), he would send them on to a pathologist who would say they are lipomas and ask why they got sent to him anyway. So, I get cut up (a little) a week from Thursday. It's always nice to have something to look forward to!


  • May 4-10, 1998

    • Wednesday - Got a port flush. The chemo nurses were not very busy . . . it went really fast!  8)

    • Thursday - Went to the surgeon today to get my arm lumps sliced and diced. He was quite good. I had very little discomfort as he was injecting the Lidocaine into my skin and no discomfort as he was cutting.

      He removed one lump from each arm. Both appeared to be lipomas (lumps of fat). One was about 1 inch x 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch. The other was about 3/8 inch x 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch. They looked like cumulus clouds made out of fat. He will send them to the pathologist just in case. Should have the results back next week. Assuming that they are lipomas, they are benign, harmless, and most people have them.



  • May 11-17, 1998

    • Monday - Surgeon called. They were lipomas.


  • May 25-31, 1998

    • Wednesday - Routine chest x-rays.

    • Friday - Got port flush and saw oncologist. All is well. Next port flush is seven weeks from next Monday. Family is taking seven week RV trip to Alaska!


  • July 20-26, 1998

    • Monday - First port flush after returning from trip to Alaska. The trip was great beyond words. I think every Hodgkin's patient should take a big vacation after finishing Hodgkin's treatment.

      Good news about port flush. After seven weeks it still flushes!



  • August 3-9, 1998

    • Saturday - Time for another set of scans. Got my gallium injection today. They did a particularly good stick this time! . . . small pleasures


  • August 10-16, 1998

    • Monday - Gallium scan . . . boring.

    • Wednesday - CT scans . . . another good stick (two in a row!). For some reason the barium went down really easily. Guess I'm getting this part down.


  • August 17-23, 1998

    • Monday - Delayed gallium scan. Not sure, think I took a short nap during the scan.

    • Wednesday - Got to get port flush and see the oncologist. All's well. Will have x-ray and see oncologist again in three months. Next set of scans is in six months. Get to continue with the monthly port flushes of course.


  • September 14-20, 1998

    • Wednesday - Port flush. Nice to see chemo nurses again.


  • Sep. 28-Oct. 4, 1998

    • Thursday - Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is common among Hodgkin's patients. Since it can be quite painful, I was hopping to avoid it. Unfortunately, the odds of contracting it are increased even after treatment and I didn't beat them.

      Have had a headache for several days. Last night a rash joined it (Right side of head and scalp). Rash and pain will probably stay on the right side because of the way the nerves group. Pain preceding the rash is typical for shingles, but I didn't think about it until I got the rash. Pictures of the rash are shown in the picture gallery.

      Saw my primary care physician today and got the official diagnosis. She prescribed Valtrex (an antiviral). Valtrex can make a difference if started early enough, hopefully it IS early enough. Other then taking the 7 days worth of Valtrex, there is no treatment for shingles. Just have to let it run it's course.

      Due to the rash's proximity to my eyes, I also got to go to an opthalmologist. Eyes look good except for a small blister on the cornea of my right eye. This is no big deal, but he prescribed antibiotic eye drops (trimethoprim sulfate and polymyxin B sulfate) to prevent infection.



  • Oct. 12-18, 1998

    • Wednesday - Port Flush. Affects of shingles are pretty much behind me. Valtrex must have been pretty effective.


  • Nov. 2-8, 1998

    • Monday - Routine X-ray and blood work.

    • Wednesday - Saw oncologist and got port flush. No signs of Mr. Hodgkin's. All tests were clear. Told doctor that I still didn't think my memory was up to snuff. Donated some more blood to do some more tests (B12, thyroid, and follic acid).


  • Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 1998

    • Wednesday - Port flush. Getting stuck is really no big deal any more. Still a pain having to go in for the flush every four weeks though.


  • Jan. 4-10, 1999

    • Wednesday - Port flush. A little longer from last flush due to being out of town over the holidays. Yes, I had a great time, thank you for asking!

    • Thursday - Time for another round of scans. Had chest xrays and CTs today (yes barium and all!).

    • Saturday - Got gallium injection today.


  • Jan. 11-17, 1999

    • Monday - Gallium scan. Back was particularly stiff after the scan.


  • Jan. 18-24, 1999

    • Monday - Delayed Gallium scan.

-- Continued --

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