Help Shelby Fight Hodgkin's Lymphoma
My name is Shelby, and I'm 24 years young. This is my story about finding out I have stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. March 18th, 2 days after my birthday, I woke up at 5 am having severe chest pains. Thinking it was just an asthma attack, I tried waiting it out. Around 11 am, my whole torso felt like it was shaking, I knew my heart rate was up. I gave in and had Jesse, my significant other, take me to the emergency room. Upon arrival, the triage nurses took me back immediately since I told them I thought it was an asthma attack. While taking my vitals, I could tell something was wrong. The nurses were acting a little weird, so I asked, "Is my heart rate high?" The nurse, looking very concerned told me that I indeed had a very high heart rate. While she was pushing me in the wheelchair back to my room, she told me my heart rate was 220 beats per minute. No wonder my torso felt like it was shaking. Within a minute, my room was filled with about 6-8 different ER staff members. They performed the craziest vagal maneuver on me, and my heart beat was back down to normal within seconds. I was going through something called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). The doctors, of course, had to run tests on me to make sure everything was okay with my heart. They performed an echocardiogram on my heart, and took a CT scan of my chest. A couple hours later, my doctor comes back in to tell me that they found what appears to be lymphoma in my upper right chest, but they needed to admit me to the hospital for a couple nights so that we could figure out exactly what they found. I feel it's important to mention here that the SVT has nothing to do with the lymphoma, it was just a blessing in disguise that I came in for that. My hospital stay lasted 2 days, and involved lots of needles and tests. On Wednesday March 20th, I had my surgery to remove a whole lymph node from the left side of my neck so that they could perform a biopsy on it. On March 29th, I was told by my doctor that I have Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and my life hasn't been the same since. On April 3rd, I was scheduled early in the morning to receive my PET scan to help find out where all the cancer had spread so that they could determine what stage I am. The cancer was found in my lower neck (measuring 6 cm), some in my right axilla, between my lungs (8.1 cm), my anterior right lobe (most tip of right lung), and my mid thoracic vertebrae, which is my mid back (5.4 cm). On April 5th, I had my bone marrow biopsy performed. This was a surgery I was very nervous about, because well, it's pretty invasive and intense. Of course, it ended up not being as bad as I had originally thought. And luckily, it came back that it hadn't spread to my bone marrow. That was a huge relief for me and my family. On April 9th, I had my port placed into my chest. They wanted me to start chemo that very next day, and I was terrified. Everything was happening so fast and I felt like I couldn't catch a break, and couldn't catch my breath. I had an appointment the next morning on April 10th, the day I was supposed to start chemo, with my cancer doctor, and he broke the news to me that is is Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, since it has entered my lungs. I had also broke out in some terrible rash out of no where 2 days before, so my doctor put me on steroids and we decided that it would be best to wait until the following week to start chemo. On April 15th, I was finally able to begin my first chemo treatment. Let me tell you what, that was a very long day. They say the first day is always the longest, and it was exhausting. One of the pre-meds they give me is Benedryl, and it makes me so incredibly groggy for a couple days. Luckily, I've only gotten sick once. I was nauseated for maybe 10 min, threw up some stomach acid and was back to normal after. Other than that, I've had some mild body aches, but doing great for the most part. I just received my second round of chemo on April 30th, and I'm still doing well. That is physically speaking. Mentally, I'm freaking out. I have so many medical bills coming in. I'm in the process of applying for Medicaid and disability, since my doctor advised me NOT to work. I'm trying to just focus on staying positive and fighting this cancer, but I'm struggling. My significant other has taken on a lot of responsibilities since my diagnosis. He's had to miss work to take me to all of my appointments, he's paying all of our bills, his car payment, rent, groceries, my prescriptions, and the gas to get me to all of my appointments. That doesn't leave us with much at all, after that's all said and done. And on top of that, I need to start paying small payments towards some of bills before they're turned over to collections. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry, that Medicaid will go back 3 months to cover things, but that application is still pending, and it's probably a long shot for me to get disability right now too. Even if I do, it may take up to 120 days to kick in, and we could really use the extra help now. I hate asking people for money, but we could really use some help with all of our bills and expenses. It's getting out of hand, and I just want to focus on getting better. My current medical bills are totalling to over $36,000+ at this point. Anything helps, even if it's just sharing this for me to your friends and families. It will help lift such a big weight off of our shoulders in a time that's already very difficult. Thank you all so much for the continued love and support. Couldn't do it without you all. Love always, Shelby 08.07.19 UPDATE: I've been denied Disability, which I assumed I would (even though my doctor advised me not to work, but they denied me because I was in remission already). After that, I was also denied Medicaid, which I'm in the process of appealing. I just had my 9th round of chemo yesterday. That means I only have 3 left. And yes, I'm in remission, thank goodness! Chemo has been completely exhausting and I'm doing the best I can. There's finally light at the end of the cancer tunnel. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing a light at the end of the debt tunnel and that's been very stressful. Anything helps, even just a friendly share. All the love and support has been extremely appreciated ❤
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