Archive for March, 2011

When Life Has Other Plans…A Personal Story of Mine.

If you personally know me, then you will know that I am an absolute control freak and possibly a bit OCD too.  I’m not controlling over other people, I just like to have full control over what I do in my life, but sometimes life has other plans.

If you follow me on Twitter (@MichelleRivera5…shameless plug) or Facebook, or just on this blog, then you will know that I just had a serious health scare.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about then please read my last blog entry to catch up.

After finding a lump on my neck in February, which was a swollen lymph node, I spent a month, which felt like a year of my life going through blood tests, Ultrasound, CT Scan, and then finally surgery.  The CT Scan showed that I actually had several swollen lymph nodes on the right side of my neck, not just the one I could see and feel, therefore the Oncologist (a surgeon who specializes in Cancer), said that it was “suspicious” and that he wanted me to schedule a surgery as soon as possible to remove the entire lymph node and then send it to biopsy.

You can only imagine what I must have been thinking.  My Oncologist said he did not think the swollen lymph node was a result of an infection.  The first 2 weeks I had this lump, I figured it was most likely an infection, so when he said he didn’t think it was an infection, fear completely set in.  Suddenly Lymphoma Cancer seemed to be a very real possibility in my life.

I felt completely and utterly out of control and all I could think of was not being around to raise my baby girl…soon a hopeless feeling set in, but it was one I had to keep hidden inside because I did not want my baby girl to see any of the sadness that I felt.

However, at night I found myself crying a lot, I think because it was the only time I could let it out.  My husband kept telling me, “You haven’t been diagnosed with Cancer.  Let’s just keep thinking positively.”  I tried to keep positive, but it was extremely difficult.  Hearing words like “suspicious” and “surgery as soon as possible” from an Oncologist does not make you feel like things are in the positive light.  All I kept thinking was, “Why God is this happening to me?”

Of course I scoured the Internet, the absolute worst thing to do when you are going through something like this to find out as much information about Lymphoma as possible.  I was so stressed out about it that I actually started breaking out into hives on my hands and arms, which by the way, has now become almost a daily occurrence and still has not gone away (the hives come and go…Benadryl is my new best friend).

The Oncologist said, “If it’s Lymphoma it’s treatable.”  However, all I heard was “If it’s Lymphoma you’ll have to go through chemotherapy, radiation treatments, you’ll feel very sick, you won’t have the energy to take care of and play with your daughter, your husband will have to take care of you, you’ll have to put your TV Hosting career on hold, and you’ll lose all of your hair, so basically you won’t be the same person you once were.”  Yes this is what my brain was actually processing.  The life in which I always wanted to be in control of suddenly had other plans of its own.

I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and asked for so many prayers too and then finally surgery day was upon me.  It was on a Thursday.  That weekend that followed was one of the worst weekends of my life.  I was in a lot physical discomfort, and I was also feeling very overwhelmed by the whole situation.

Between the meds and running a fever of 100.5, which the Oncologist said was just a result of my body trying to heal from the surgery, I was not doing well during that weekend at all.  Finally after 5 miserable days of waiting, my results came in on a Tuesday afternoon.

It was not Lymphoma.

Of course this was great news, but I surprisingly did not feel as relieved as I thought I would.  I had just spent an entire month thinking that I could possibly have Cancer, so even with the news that I didn’t, I still felt like I was just this vulnerable human being who really didn’t have control over her life.  Let’s face it, life often has other plans for us, it’s terrifying when you really think about it.

My husband says, “You can’t live in fear.”  He’s right, but it’s an amazing thing when you realize that you’re not as invincible as you thought you were.  I guess that’s just a part of growing up.  Yes even in your adulthood, you can still grow up.

So now I’m left with the thought of people who actually do have Cancer.  I think about those who didn’t get the lucky or blessed good news that I received that Tuesday afternoon.  I look up to those people more now because they are true fighters and I wonder if I could have been up for that same fight?  Especially since I had already felt so knocked down just waiting for my diagnosis.

At this point now, I thank God and all of those people who said prayers for me and to those people who sent out positive vibes into the universe for me as well.  However, I am left with an urgency to want to learn from this experience and try to make a positive contribution somehow.

For those of you wondering, they still don’t know what caused my swollen lymph nodes, they just know what didn’t cause it.  I’ll take my blessings where they come.

I Have A Swollen Lymph Node…..

OMG!   It’s the last day of February and I have not done a new blog entry at all this month and by the time I post this one it will already be March 1st!  I am so sorry to all of my readers.  I don’t want to make any excuses, life just threw me a strange curve ball this month and I fell a little off of my blogging A-Game, okay I fell completely off of my blogging A-Game and really it’s probably more of a B-Game to begin with anyway.

To make a long blog longer, this is what happened.  The beginning of February I was in Colorado with my family visiting my in-laws.  Then when we got back from Colorado to L.A, I discovered a lump on the right side of my neck, it was a swollen lymph node to be exact.

So of course this scared the living crap out of me so I spent days waiting for the swelling to go down, but I had absolutely no luck.  Therefore, I went to go see the doctor, but the doctor wasn’t there, so I saw a nurse practitioner instead, and she ran blood work on me.  My blood work came back great and I have no family history of Cancer, so I’m told to wait a week to see if the swelling goes down.

I spend the week drinking shots of apple cider vinegar, which is absolutely disgusting just so you all know, but it’s supposed to detox your body and bring down the swelling in your lymph nodes, but guess what I still had a swollen lymph node.  So my doctor orders me to go see a Radiologist to get an ultrasound.  At this point I’m thinking, “Oh my God, I have Lymphoma Cancer and I have a 2 year old daughter, why is this happening to me?”

I go and get my ultrasound and they send the results right away to my doctor.  I speak to  my doctor who says that the ultrasound is showing that there appears to be an infection and inflammation in the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck and that other lymph nodes on the right side of my neck are beginning to elevate as well, although we can’t see them or feel them yet.  I of course ask my doctor the most obvious question at this point which is, “So you’re telling me that this is not Cancer?”  The doctor responds to me by saying that only a biopsy can rule out Cancer 100%, but that the chances are very, very, very, slim that it is.

After getting this news I’m much more relieved, however, my doctor wants me to go see a surgeon about doing a possible biopsy, so I did.

The surgeon reviews my ultrasound and blood work, and goes over a series of health questions with me and then feels my neck for the swollen lymph node.

The surgeon then goes on to tell me that it’s not Lymphoma Cancer and explains all the reasons why it is not.  However, he orders a CT scan on me because he says it will tell him more than an ultrasound will and he is not fully convinced that I have an infection present.  He says it might just be inflammation and drainage.

He explains to me that a biopsy on a lymph node is evasive and that would mean I would need surgery and he doesn’t want to do surgery unless I actually do have an infection present and actually need it, and so my CT Scan is scheduled for later on today at 1:00pm.

So that is where I leave my story as of now, but thank God all signs point to it not being Cancer. However, as of today I still have a swollen lymph node.

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