Updated: Oct 12, 2020
This shit-show all started on a humid night when on my way back from Tesco, I stopped to take in an amateur game at the park I was driving past. As I was standing, I got talking to an elderly couple who were watching the game as well. As you do, I wrapped my hand round the base of my neck to explain something that had happened when I felt a huge lump.
When I got home, I mentioned it to my mum, "check this for a swollen lymph node." Concerned, she said, "Do me a favour and take yourself to the Doctor about that." The following day, on my way to work, I phoned my GP and managed to get an appointment for the same day - a modern-day miracle. The Dr checked it over, told me it was a swollen lymph node, and off I trotted into work reassured.
Over the next few weeks, the node never got smaller; instead, I started to get a constant ache in my chest as well as my left elbow. During the night, I would frequently get awoken in agony with this "swollen gland." So while watching the programme "Chernobyl" (highly recommend if you haven't watched) with all the cancer references, I decided it wise to take myself back to the GP.
I went back to the Doctor's surgery on Thursday 13th June '19. This time I saw a different doctor who did a more thorough exam, she reassured me it was nothing to worry about - but referred me to the hospital to be sure. Fortunately, I have private medical insurance, so I managed to get an appointment to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist on the following Tuesday.
Over that weekend, I went to Manchester with my best friend Rhys (a.k.a Bert) to see the Courteeners at Heaton Park. Both of us blissfully unaware of our surroundings (mostly due to excessive alcohol consumption.) But also as well as being blissfully unaware of what was about to unfold.
I met the specialist on the Tuesday, expecting to be in for five minutes and prescribed some antibiotics for an infection. He felt my nodes, asked some questions, then stuck a camera up my nose and subsequently down my throat (which was nowhere near as bad as it sounds.) Out of nowhere, he dropped the bombshell on me that he thought I had Lymphoma. My world collapsed. I was inconsolable...
Over the next few weeks, I had a workup of tests - bloods, CT scans and finally a biopsy on Thursday 27th June. Most of you reading this will know that this is one day before my beloved fair... However, rest assured it did not stop me getting rat arsed and enjoying myself - even featuring on the TV! Our boys holiday to Zante was the following week, but, I never felt up to it. I didn't want to be away from home - even though the boys would have been amazing; I just needed to weather the storm of worry that would set in the next ten days waiting on the results from the biopsy. Looking back, I regret not going; the laughs may have made the following months more bearable.
"So it has come back as Hodgkin Lymphoma, more specifically the nodular sclerosing subtype." - ENT Dr, Tuesday 9th July 2019.