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
- 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.