Monday, November 14, 2016

Fit Chick Fighter ~ Valerie

Here is a story written by Valerie, a client of Texas Fit Chicks Anna, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in May. She's a true fighter!! We are so thankful that she has chosen to share her inspiring story on the Fit Chicks blog. 

(This story was started in May 2016:)

Not sure how to start this out. I'm not a blogger or a writer by any means, but I thought I'd give a little background on my diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma on May 17th, 2016. Trust me, it was as much of a surprise to me as it was to any of you!!

When I think back over the last 7'ish weeks, I can see where things started feeling "off", but as someone who is never sick, I chalked it all up to common issues on Dr. Google. Night sweats and hot flashes=early menopause. I mean, I am almost 40, so it's possible. Light-headedness and dizzy spells=too much caffeine or lack of sleep due to a 15 month old. Full feeling in my head and swollen face=sinus issues. It is spring in Texas after all!!

So I never REALLY thought it was a big concern until Mother's Day weekend. I did the Head for the Cure 5k with a group from my work. I am not a runner, so I walked most of it and felt fine. However, when I see the pictures of me at the end of the race, I am un-recognizable. My face is puffed up to about twice its normal size and it's not a skinny face to begin with!! I again chalked it up to allergies, since we had been in the woods, and went home, took some Claritin and a nap. It never really got any better and then I woke up on Sunday and my neck was swollen. I looked like a line-backer that had been hitting the steroids..HARD! Veins standing up and everything! I called an urgent care place and got in pretty quick. I was diagnosed with an allergic reaction and given a steroid shot, Benadryl shot, steroid pills to take home and an epi-pen in case I started having trouble breathing. This helped for a few days but by Wednesday, I was puffed up again. I called my PCP on Thursday and he said I had not been given a strong enough dose of steroids. So he upped my dose, gave me a cortisone shot for the swelling and sent me on my way. I was expecting a significant improvement by Friday because I started to look a little better by Thursday afternoon.

By Friday morning, I was no better, so I went back to work. I work for Emergency Department physicians and several of them just happened to be having a meeting in our office that morning. Three of them looked at me and told me to go to the ED now! They called and spoke to one of our docs that was working and told her I was coming. She got right on it, chest X-ray, EKG, lab work, CT scan. Chest X-Ray=clear, EKG=good, Labwork=good, CT scan=not clear. Large mass on the back of my sternum that was pressing on my Vena Cava. So I had Superior Vena Cava Syndrome or SVCS. Please DO NOT Google that!!! Terrifying articles!!

Anyway, I was admitted after that and spent the weekend in a bit of limbo-hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. The prelim labs came in Monday morning and showed that is was more than likely lymphoma, but we didn't know what kind. The oncologist came in and kind of described the treatment plans and told us that it was treatable and possibly curable, which was very good news. She wanted to do a PET scan and a bone marrow biopsy to make sure it hadn't spread, so that set off more alarm bells. We hadn't even thought about this thing spreading, yet. She did say it was unlikely because it had apparently grown to this point in a matter of weeks, it was VERY fast.

Either way, Chemo started on Tuesday and I was given a pre-chemo mix of things to fight off nausea and other possible side effects. That first day was pretty nerve wracking but I never got sick or had any pain and as of today, I'm still feeling pretty good. I'm still very swollen and mentally and emotionally exhausted from all of this, but I can say that I've (almost) made it through the first 5-day chemo treatment and I'm getting ready to go home tomorrow.

We've been told that this next week may be a challenge. This will be the week that my blood counts drop and my immune system crashes, so I will probably be pretty fatigued by mid-week. We are still hopeful that it won't be that bad, since I've reacted so well to the chemo. It's going to be a crazy few months and we don't really know what to expect, but we will keep you updated as we can until this thing is over.

One thing that we do know is that it WILL NOT end well for cancer!!

Fast forward approximately 5 months and things are looking good!  My last chemo treatment ended on September 2, 2016. I had a follow up PET scan on September 15 and the tumor was still shrinking.  My doctor said that I could stop all of my meds and basically return to my “normal” life.  Since then I’ve returned to work full time, my hair is starting to grow back and I have just completed my first week back at Texas Fit Chicks Anna with Trina’s Fit Chick Tribe! It sure feels good to feel good!!

I truly believe that my treatment would have taken a much more serious toll on my body had I not been working out with TFC during the months before my diagnosis. That and the support of my amazing family and friends!

Join Anna Texas Fit Chicks:
Trina Harris
Texas Fit Chicks Boot Camp
One Star Directing Trainer
Certified Personal Trainer

Like them on FaceBook


Post a Comment