It started with a stomach virus. I was busy being a mom and working full time, but otherwise felt like a healthy 30-something-year-old.
The stomach virus caused a lot of pain, so I went to the doctor. After I explained my symptoms, the doctor had me get a scan of my stomach to see what was going on. When the scan came back, my stomach looked fine but his new concern was that I had multiple nodules in my lungs. He immediately wanted me to see a pulmonologist.
The first pulmonologist I went to had me get a PET Scan. The scan came back and nothing lit up. The doctor then explained that since the scan was clean, I was fine. I was nervous about the nodules, but there was nothing in the results to pursue any more testing. Lucky for me, I have many doctors in my family and they advised me to see another pulmonologist.
I met with a different pulmonologist and she said that they were going to monitor the nodules with regular scans. We scheduled another scan for 6 months later. When that scan came back, it showed that the nodules had grown. The doctor suggested that I get a biopsy done. Now, this wasn’t just a small biopsy – this was thoroscopic surgery with a wedge resection (basically going in and removing a piece of my lung to biopsy).
The biopsy came back with a diagnosis: stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I started treatment soon after. I never felt sick and I pushed through like a champion. I had to! I had a three-year-old and a three-month-old at home all while I continued to work full time.
My advice to anyone reading my story is get checked! Everyone knows me to be the biggest hypochondriac, but I am the best advocate for my own health. I knew something was wrong, and if it wasn’t for me continuing to go to doctors and for my cousins telling me to find a new doctor, who is to say what this could have turned into? I am glad I found a doctor who listened to me and worked with me to discover the correct diagnosis.
I still have cancer but I am happy to say it’s slow growing. As long as I am being monitored by an amazing team of doctors, I will beat this so that I can see my kids grow!
- no early symptoms; nodules in lungs were detected from a scan for an unrelated issue