Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Cycling
At the end of 2014, start of 2015 I kept complaining of feeling tired, having a tight chest and a constant cough. I didn't really think too much of it as I do shift work and it was winter, so I just thought I needed to cut down a bit and get some antibiotics in me.
Taking part in the Kentish Killer Sportive in February 2015 I pulled out after the 1st big climb, and remember saying at the time 'It feels like I have a belt being tightened around my chest'. After an appointment with the GP a course of antibiotics and still feeling no better I was sent for a blood test BOOM! I then was sent to Kings Collage with a cancer referral to the 'Neck Lump Clinic' a couple of months of blood tests, X-Rays, Biopsy's, PET scans it was found I had stage 2B Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and the tightness on my chest was due to a fist size tumour on my chest.
I had 4 cycles (8 sessions) of ABVD chemo therapy over 4 months at King Collage Hospital, along with the normal side effects of collapsed veins and becoming neutropenic and having to inject my stomach to help with the white cell count, I was also left fatigued and weak, after a 2 month break between treatments I then went into 17 sessions over 9 fields of radio therapy at St. Thomas Hospital in London.
I can honestly say I have never felt so weak as the time post treatment, some days I could hardly go more than an hour without feeling like I could sleep for the rest of the day, which is one of the things no one told me about.
I then seemed to pick up every single cough and chest infection going along with a post chemo steroid induced weight gain of 15 kilos, although visitors bringing cake round and laying on the sofa watching TV probably didn't help much. I think I got on the bike too soon about 1 year after treatment ended and ended up with bronchitis. More tests, the post cancer 'has it come back paranoia' then some drugs followed by rest and recovery.
The post treatment fatigue fog finally seemed to lift in August this year when I managed to get back on the bike and so far I've lost 5 kilos of the steroid induced gain, along with being discharged and having a once a year blood test I finally see to be getting back to normal.