Thursday 9 October 2014

Why I've been away....

"See No Evil, Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil"

WARNING: This post is NOT about cross-stitch. If you only read my blog for the stitchy stuff, you can skip this one!

Putting aside the very cute aspect of my recent birthday present pictured above there is a serious message to be had from designs like this.
Whether it's a mantra for us to live by - or a way for us to ignore the things we don't want to talk about - it's surprisingly astute.

But, sometimes, things can reach out and grab you with no warning. I've thought hard about whether to talk about what I'm experiencing; finally deciding that I could help someone by talking about it made me write this entry.

Here's what happened to me a few weeks ago.

I went to be one night, tired after a day working at my new company and woke up the next morning with massive lumps in both of my armpits

You may be thinking I felt a small lump - well, you'd be wrong. It was the size of a tennis ball. And here it is:

The strangest things about this was that I didn't feel ill. Even the lumps themselves didn't hurt. I figured they'd go away so I left it for a couple of days.

Finally, I went to the doctor...and the look of horror on his face when he saw my lumps really got me worried. However, he did tell me that it was my lymph gland that was swollen and blood tests were needed to determine the possible cause.

In the weeks that have followed the rest of my lymphatic system has decided that swelling to impossible sizes would be fun (no more pictures, I promise!). So, now I have no neck....just a chin that merges with my swollen neck. Swollen glands in my groin have reached as high as just below my belly button. I even have swollen glands on the back of my skull and behind one ear. It's all totally bizarre.

So, finally the blood tests come back and I'm given the news. "We suspect it's lymphoma". I heard those words being said and my reply (in a very happy voice) was "Oh, Ok. Thank you". It was like I'd been told I'd won a raffle. I was so polite. While my GP continued to talk my brain was processing something like this: "Lymphoma? I'm sure 'House' has talked about that. Is that the Hodgkins one? Or is that Lupus? No, I'm sure that's Lymphoma. Shit! Isn't Lymphoma cancer? Fuck! I have cancer!?"

All the while my GP was talking to me. I have no idea what he said for the rest of that conversion.

I then, promptly, fell apart. I turned into a sniffling wreck.
However, that lasted a few hours before my sensible and logical side kicked in. Now, I just have the odd blip where I feel my own mortality...the rest of the time I'm thinking very positively.

Anyway, the next stage was a biopsy.
Given the risk of infection with an armpit extraction it was decided that the upper groin lymph-gland would be the best candidate and that's what I had removed last week.
Since then, my lymphatic system has decided that it needs to put my 'lyphm' fluid into the surrounding area...including my privates. VERY embarrassing!!!

Still...I'm days away from a diagnosis! Days away from know how I can fight this crappy disease (whichever disease it may be). And - possibly - weeks away from my lumps finally going down! Even though they didn't hurt at they're very hard and they press on nerve clusters; which is causing all kinds of issues with my arms.

So, now you all know why I haven't been stitching. And why I've been neglecting my blog. Yes, my company was largely to blame...but I also wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about what's happening to me.
Obviously, I've made that decision.
I'm not looking for sympathy - I just want other people to know what's happening and also to go to the doctor with any strange lumps. They don't have to be as big as mine to be dangerous! Get yourself checked out!


  1. Neil! I was diagnosed with Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) on the eighth of July, and it has been a roller coaster ride so to say every since. I wound up in the hospital for 44 days total and even when they finally had me go home, my platelets were so low that they told me to expect to develop a bleed of some type, at which point I would bleed out and die within minutes. My husband and I made the funeral arrangements. Family came from NH to Georgia and my sister after leaving came back again. Since then I have had eight rounds of chemo. Five shots of N Plate and one planned for every week ahead. Promacta, and other drugs to all work together to "see if" anything works. No one knows what causes this so they don't know how to fix it.
    I'm telling you all of this because my platelets have gone from only 700 to a whopping 428,000. Next week they may be lower, but I'm alive and look forward to every new day as a blessing. I've been told to get plenty of rest. You get plenty of rest. I've been told to drink nothing but room temp water and plenty of it. You do the same. It helps clean the system. I was told to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. You do the same. I was told to concentrate on healing. You concentrate on the same. I was told to think positive. You my friend, think positive. No, I do not have cancer, but do have another disease that can be fatal as well. I'm determined to live my life. I expect ups and downs as well, but will manage.
    Last but certainly not least. God has been with me all the way. To watch how He has worked with this whole thing amazes me. I don't know Neil, if you're a believer or not, but because I am, I want and will keep you in prayer. Get as much rest as you can. Continue living as normal as possible. Eat well. Enjoy anything you can and laugh as often as you can.
    You keep us updated. You're loved by so many. We care. LindaLee from

    1. Thank you LindaLee! I really appreciate your thoughts - and they're winging their way back to for your own health too! :-)

  2. Neil, I think it's very brave of you to tell us about what is happening, and also very considerate of your followers, who surely are worried if they don't hear from you (or only scraps like 'I was in the hospital'). So thanks for telling us, and all the best to you, especially the strength to get well again soon!