There are so many brilliant websites listing the plethora of symptoms associated with Hodgkin Lymphoma, but I thought it might be useful for me to write a quick description of my experience, just in case – and because I wish I’d had even the foggiest inkling that these were linked to a cancer diagnosis!
My symptoms included/include:
- Persistent Lethargy and Fatigue – turns out I’m not just a social flake (oh, whilst we’re on the matter – fuck you who called me that, you know who you are), but that feeling exhausted and unable to do things is a common side effect of this cancer.
- Back Pain – if it weren’t for the back pain, I could have been in a much worse position. It was the symptom which finally persuaded me to pursue medical intervention and led to the diagnosis (admittedly six months later!).
- Itching (all over) – of all the symptoms, this is the one which has been causing me the most distress. Some days I want to take a potato peeler to my legs and be done with it. Top tip – I buy ‘ZeroBase’ emollient cream and slather myself in it 3 or four times a day to keep the itching at a tolerable level.
- Getting Sick Easily – seriously, I thought I was just unlucky because I seemed to catch all of the bugs that were going around. Turns out it wasn’t a biological talent – but that it was probably a symptom of my cancer!
- Night Sweats/Chills: This should have been quite a big red flag, but because I was always coming down with bugs (see above) I put it down to yet another cold-like infection.
It’s easy to look back and think ‘why didn’t I notice earlier?’ (you know, before my cancer got to Stage 4), but the truth is that hindsight is 20/20 and when you’re actually living through these symptoms they feel so unrelated and random. They were spread out over weeks, months and even years, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about not spotting a pattern earlier.