Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hodgkin’s Disease. Cancer. My Father

Hodgkins Disease Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer. My dad has been diagnosed with B type Hodgkins Lymphoma and my mind is racing a mile a minute. I just received a phone call from my mother telling me the news, and I can’t quite wrap my mind around what she was telling me.

People that know me and my background know that I don’t often hear from my mother. Seeing their phone number appear on the Caller ID immediately makes me think someone in the family was seriously injured in an accident, is very ill or dead. I haven’t heard from my father since 1995, because I chose to leave the religion I was born into, and the results of that choice were automatic and immediate.

In the eyes of my father and most of my siblings, I died in 1995. All because of my personal decision to leave a religious organization I no longer wanted to be a part of. My mother tends to think of me as being in some sort of coma, hoping that I’ll somehow “come to my senses” and take the required and necessary steps to rejoin the religion.

Doing so would mean I would have been miraculously “resurrected from the dead”, where family members and old friends (who haven’t spoken to me since 1995) would suddenly welcome me back with open arms. Not gonna happen. Ever.

My parents live in Dallas, which is only about a 30-minute drive from our house. Having family members living in such close proximity to our house, but rarely hearing from or seeing any of them, is something I’ve never quite gotten used to. The wounds from the past run very deep, and try as I may to “forgive and forget” everything that happened, forgiving and moving on is easier than the ability to actually forget.

My mother said that my 79-year-old father has very itchy skin, or “eczema” as she called it, which is a classic symptom of Hodgkin’s Disease. She said my father has sores on his legs, is always very tired, takes several naps a day and is no longer able to work doing people’s taxes.

Common symptoms of Hodgkins Disease include:

  • Appetite Loss
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Red patches on the skin
  • Severely itchy skin, often affecting the legs and feet
  • Weight loss

Some of these general signs and symptoms of Hodgkin’s Disease were mentioned by my mother in regards to my father. I can only assume that the sores on my father’s legs are from persistent scratching of his itchy legs, to the point of causing sores to develop.

Reading about the types of Hodgkin’s Disease makes me very nervous for my dad’s prognosis. From what I’ve read so far, “B symptoms are related to an increased cancer “burden”—more cancerous tissue—in many patients and, therefore, indicate a worse prognosis, or outcome.” We don’t know much more than that at this point.

Tests are scheduled to begin soon to determine the specific “stage of Hodgkins” my father would be categorized as being in at this point, and what treatment options there are for him. I briefly read that Chemotherapy and/or radiation may be treatments recommended for my father, but we’ll know more once the test results are in. That’s about all I can handle reading right now. Rather than dwelling on the possible negative prognosis for my father, I’m doing my best to keep calm and dredge up good memories from the past, and just hope for the best outcome.

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18 Responses to “Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hodgkin’s Disease. Cancer. My Father”

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  1. Mrs. Micah says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that, Lin. My mom has terminal cancer and while we’re not tv show pals, we’ve always had a good relationship and it’s hard. I think it would be even scarier if I was worried she’d die rejecting me. 🙁 I hope he does as well as my mom has done, despite her diagnosis. And I hope that the others in your family are able to put aside the past and make room at the table for you.

    *hugs*

    • Lin says:

      Thanks, I don’t know anyone else personally who is or has had a family member go through Hogkins Lymphoma, so I’ve only been able to do research myself and try to get answers to questions and concerns. My mom herself said she hasn’t yet read through all the information she was provided about this type of cancer, and she’s scared to death to read through it all but she’s trying hard to do it anyway. She said my dad is in complete denial and refuses to discuss it with anyone, and I mean anyone. He’s a very very private person, to an extreme. Time will tell if there will be any softening of hearts towards me personally, but I won’t be holding my breath.

      • ethansnana says:

        My son had Hodgkins several years ago. Went through chemo, 2 years later had a stem cell transplant. Please e-mail if you would like to discuss. I spent 4 years living this disease. Prognosis is very good but you must be pro-active. My prayers are with you and your family.

        • Lin says:

          Thanks! Apparently tests will be run next month and hopefully that’s when I’ll find out just how bad the situation is at this point. My mom didn’t mention anything during her phone call about “staging” of Hodgkins – I read about that online, so I hope to hear that whatever stage my dad is in will be early enough to get treatment and that he’ll be fine. Keeping my fingers crossed for a good outcome.

  2. Karen Swim says:

    Lin, I am praying for you and with you for your Dad. I am also so sorry that your family has been unable to love and accept you and the choice you made. I only know you as a kind, compassionate person who loves and is devoted to her family. Sadly your family of origin is missing out on the wonderful woman you are today. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Big huge hugs!

    • Lin says:

      I appreciate that Karen. I really do. The more time that goes by where I don’t have any communication at all with family members within the religion, it got easier to deal with the disconnect. But stuff like this comes up on occasion and it brings it all back. The good, bad and ugly, but I hang tough and hold myself together pretty well throughout the years as they go by. I’m glad that I left the religion and I will never ever go back. Thank you for the prayers.

  3. Janet Fox says:

    *Hugs Hugs*

    Gosh Lin, I am so sorry you had to hear this sad news after the fun b’day you had. Just the way you write about your family makes the pain you have inside so obvious. It must have been really difficult to go against your family for something you really believe in and then face their total indifference. It requires tremendous courage! I very sincerely hope that your Dad gets better and more that they accept you back in family.

    God bless you!

    • Lin says:

      It’s been tough news to hear. Of course, I’ve always known that there would come the time when my parents would pass away, but the moment that call comes in that you just don’t want to hear…..it makes it all very real. Plus, I was glued to the television today watching the Michael Jackson memorial, and that really messed me up. Hearing Michael’s daughter Paris talk about her love for her father and falling apart was so moving. Sigh….

      • Janet Fox says:

        Hmmm.. Sometimes it feels so ironic to see someone illustrate the precise feelings you are going through. I guess MJ’s demise is only an add on in the difficult time you are already going through. But then, it good the way you get to ventilate your feelings through your blog.

        We all are there for you Lin. Just hang on.. It’ll be all fine. Here is an interesting phrase that I came across..

        “Everything is all right at the end.. And if it is not all right.. its not the end!”

        • Lin says:

          Janet, something else that is very ironic is that I receive emails from people all the time asking me why I “don’t write MORE personal stuff” on my blog. Oh but I do it all the time, but I’ve written them in such a way that doesn’t make it incredibly obvious that that is what I’m doing. Suffice it to say that when people read my blog articles, the subject matter is either something I’m experiencing now in my personal life or something I’ve experienced in the past. My life, past/present and future is all over this blog, and since there are what I would refer to as “spies” poking around on this blog, I chose to write those articles in a more generalized way. But yes, I do get to vent my feelings on this blog, and that will never stop.

  4. mike says:

    I hope you can find it in yourself to forgive your parents for what they did. At the same time, I think you should try to rebuild the relationship, and if it still comes down to the religion thing, then it seems as if you have been doin fine what you are currently doing 🙂

    I hope your father gets better and I hope you can repair your relationship with your family.

    Mike

    • Lin says:

      Hi Mike,

      The religion itself prevents the rebuilding of the relationship, and I don’t know if that will ever change, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s a very strange feeling to get a call from a family member and not be able to recognize their voice right away, because so much time has passed since the last communication.

  5. Jenny says:

    Hi Lin! I’m really sorry to hear such bad news about your father. They say that denial is the first reaction when we are faced with terrible news. Then comes sadness and finally acceptance. I really hope that these hard times help you and your family come back together. Hugs!

    • Lin says:

      Hi Jenny,

      That would be great, and I’m sure both my parents would love there to be a reconciliation in the relationship, but for that to happen it must be on THEIR terms. The religion thing.

      Not gonna happen. Ever.

  6. Pearl says:

    Hi Lin, I’m so sorry to hear of your dad’s condition and my prayers are with you at this difficult time.. It sure takes a lot of courage to go on when your own people leave you but I’m sure the experience has made you a very strong person in the end… My thoughts and prayers are with you to continue to have that strength to deal with this situation as well.. hoping your dad gets well soon!!

    Pearl

    • Lin says:

      Hi Pearl! Thank you for those kind words. I’m a “tough cookie” for sure, and I’ll be fine through this situation with my dad and family. I’m also sure that my background/childhood experiences etc has a lot to do with how tough I am, but I do have my moments where I’m not tough at all, like anyone else. Being ostracized from the family because of religious differences in beliefs is MEANT to cause the person who left strong incentive to go back, but that mind control nonsense doesn’t work on me. The family of course continues to hope that I’ll go back, although I only hear that coming from my mother on occasion, and rather than making a strong statement that it will never happen, I just let it go in one ear and out the other.

      • Pearl says:

        Oh mothers of grown ‘children’ are strange creatures 🙂 they do their best to keep families together but I know sometimes they make a bad situation worse!! And that’s perhaps the most ‘right’ approach to not say it again and again to them that you aren’t going back… it’ll only make them (and you) sadder and distant from each other.. arguments don’t do much positive to mend relationships when philosophies have changed and you know it so well..

        I myself have had loads of those types of situations where it was difficult to stick to what I believe, even with ‘differences of opinions’ (changing religions is HUGE).. So hang in there and know that you are not alone!!

        love and hugs

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