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Innovative Health Care Magazine

46 Innovative Health - Summer 2016 N O N - H O D G K I N L Y M P H O M A When I discovered a lump in my groin over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2006, I had no idea how it would alter my life. But today I’m living life to the fullest. If you find yourself in the same situation, the world doesn’t have to come to a “screeching halt” if you take charge of your health. I hope after you read this article you can benefit from my experience. I have learned some valuable lessons over the last nine years. 1 First, and perhaps the most important, is to listen to your body and continually monitor your health concerns. 2 The second is to become an expert on your health through “smart” reading and “networking.” 3 The third is to know all your options, especially the latest advancements in treatment and medical care; and plan to use them when needed. 4 Fourth, make certain your insurance needs can provide the best care possible. I was remiss with all four when I turned 60, just after I found my lump. It was close to five weeks before I could see my family doctor. I had self-diagnosed the lump as a lipoma, a fatty mass, that I had years earlier. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. I met with my PCP and he told me I had lymphoma. I thought to myself, “what is lymphoma?” A CT scan revealed that the lymphoma was in multiple regions of my upper and lower body. That news drove me to the bookstore where I purchased Living with Lymphoma, written by a survivor. I wanted to know what I was dealing with. The reading raised questions and generated anxiety, but I would still rather know than face uncertainty. Lymphoma is a group of blood cancers that occur in the lymph MY PLAN FOR A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE nodes. The two main types are Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin; and there are many subtypes. It is the fifth leading cause of death from cancer. My reading revealed the long term prognosis was all over the map, so to speak. I began inwardly to pray that I had one of the lymphomas that carried a favorable outcome. Needless to say, I was getting very anxious. My experience with lymphoma /// BY JIM SITKO


Innovative Health Care Magazine
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