Researching your cancer

Cancer. A tough word for some to understand. To others, just an every day word that they deal with constantly, and hear every day.

I always knew what cancer was, it’s just that I had never taken the time to really read into it. I knew it was a disease of many. So many different types, some were curable, some were not.

When I walked out of my doctor’s office after being diagnosed with lymphoma, aside from telling family and friends, I sat down in front of the computer for at least two hours looking up information. There was so much to take in. All I knew was that I had lymphoma. I didn’t know if it was Hodgkin’s, or Non-Hodgkin’s. I didn’t know what stage it was in. I just read EVERYTHING at the time.

After having a visit with my Hematologist, and finding out that I had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, that was in the fourth stage, it was a bit easier to get the right information.

Thank God for the Internet. There were so many sites, with so much information. I read and printed off loads of stats, stories, etc. Whatever I could find that was interesting to me. And also anything that would help me prepare both physically and mentally for what I was about to encounter over the next few months.

Each time I made a trip to the hospital, I was faced with many different words, and phrases that I had no idea about. I used to ask what it all meant, and get a very simplified version. I don’t like when things are simplified. I like DETAIL. So of course, when I got home, I’d hit the internet, getting more and more information every time. I found out all about red blood cells, and white blood cells, and platelets, and biopsy’s, and C.T scans, etc. So much stuff! But it was stuff that I felt I NEEDED to know.

Soon enough I was well educated about my disease, the drugs I was on, tests I would undergo, and anything else that went along with it. I could have written a book. When I saw the doctors, I would fire questions at them, and they’d be blown away at the vocabulary I was using. They actually said that they were going to re-check my birth certificate because I seemed to have too much knowledge for my age. (Funny guys!)

I have got to say, researching your disease, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to help you through. I have read so much information. Both bad things and good. Sometimes the bad is bad, but honestly, it’s better to know then to not know. If I hadn’t have read and researched about my cancer, I feel as if I would be nowhere right now. You need to be able to throughly understand anything and everything that will and can happen. Not only for yourself, but for others. Many people will have questions, and you will want to be able to explain as best you can.

To this very day, I still research about my cancer, and everything that comes along with it. I am scheduled to undergo a stem cell transplant soon, so I’m on top of all that now. Doing all the reading I can about what will and can happen, and also reading other people’s stories, and HEARING other people’s stories.

Without research, not only through the Internet, but through word of mouth, I’d be lost.