In June 2020, I was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkins lymphoma, but let's backtrack for a minute. In September 2019, I notice that I would (sometimes) experience lower back pain around the lumbar area, but it would only be sometimes. At that point, it may only have happened one to four times a month.
As time went on, the pain got a little worse and was occurring more frequently. Keep in mind, I'm 25 years old at this time, so one of the first things you do when you're experiencing problems is to consult with a friend before a doctor, right? So one friend mentioned, "You need to go to a chiropractor, you'd be surprised at how much better you'd feel". So I started going to a chiropractor for a few weeks, and while there was some relief it didn't remove the pain.
At this point in time, the pain is becoming worse but with the help of acetaminophen, it's manageable. In January 2020, I went to my primary care physician for a physical. My doctor wasn't there that day, there was a doctor filling in for him. I explained my back concern while I was there and he couldn't find a correlation between the timing of the back pain and its location.
Fast-forward to April, the back pain has gotten worse. I finally scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician and I explained the entire scenario to him. We took x-rays of my back to ensure nothing out of the ordinary, which results of that look spectacular. He ordered labs to get some blood tested. The labs did show my white blood cell count was elevated, but there were various things it could've been. For example, the body could be fighting off a common cold.
I was referred to my local hospital to get an MRI. The radiology technician contacted my doctor and informed him that there was a problem with my blood test results and I should be referred to a hematologist. So my doctor put in an immediate referral to a hematologist. Now, at this point in time, all I know is that a hematologist deals with blood. I didn't know that the hematology doctor's office is at a Cancer Center. So, I was very confused as to why I was at a Cancer Center.
The next steps were to get a bone marrow biopsy and a PET/CT scan. After following those recommendations, the bone-marrow biopsy results came back normal. The PET/CT did show some swollen lymph nodes, but they wanted to do an endoscopic ultrasound to gather tissue to test as well as gather deeper details as to what was going on. So, we got to the endoscopic ultrasound, and it showed concerns for Hodgkins lymphoma. I was then recommended to get a lymph node biopsy. They removed tissue from my armpit and tested it. At this point, I was recommended to get another lymph node biopsy, removing tissue from my abdomen. They were finally able to get definite results.
I was later diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkins lymphoma and I had to receive 12 ABVD chemotherapy regimen treatments. Doctors stated it could take one year after treatments for the immune system to be back normal. I finished my last treatment in December 2020. It's now February 2021, and after the lab examination of blood, the LDH is within normal range and my white blood cell count is as well. The doctor feels like I will be back to normal by March 2021!