Mike Lachtanski's Hodgkin's Story
Life was going pretty well. I had a good job which paid well and I had a lot of friends. I lived in a great part of the country, and I kept myself super busy: worked hard and played hard. I was always too busy to stop and think about what things for too long as there was always something to be done. I was certainly too busy to pay much attention to anything spiritual and I buried any emotional issues deep down inside. Then life tossed me a big time wake-up call. Diagnosis: Hodgkin's Disease
It was now time to put the negative aspects of my life aside and stop putting off those things I knew I should do but never got around to. Time to heal myself completely: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I needed to take the aspects of my personality that could be helpful to me and use them to solve this new problem that I was presented with. It was also time to take the harmful aspects of my personality and change them. There was no longer time to leave things hanging as something I would eventually get to "some day". Reading the online book, "Fighting Cancer" also helped bring some focus to my life at a time of great chaos. I took the steps I needed to heal myself mentally and spiritually so I could attack this physical problem. I always was a problem solver and this was just a problem of a larger magnitude.
I read a lot of books, and scoured the internet for information. In my readings, I concluded that it was essential that I adopt a "take charge" attitude to get through this (which is in line with my personality.) After reading many, many Hodgkin's Disease abstracts, I found a couple of abstracts from 1997 and 1995 about the Stanford V chemotherapy regimen. I knew when I read about it, that this was my best chance to overcome this challenge, and I called Stanford. I was told they could not see me for a week and a half after my confirmed diagnosis was due in, and that it would take them a week to review my case. I wasn't willing to wait that long for treatment, so I called them and cancelled. I really wanted to start fighting back quickly, and waiting a few extra weeks was not something I could handle. After talking to a friend that urged me to try again, I called them back. I spoke with a nurse, Sheila, that listened with a compassionate ear and she got me scheduled for a second opinion the VERY NEXT day with one of their top Hodgkin's doctors. They were conducting a Phase II Clinical Trial of Stanford V and I convinced them to admit me into the trial. I started Chemotherapy on June 25th, 1997 followed by 10 weeks of radiation, which ended on December 18, 1997.
I received so much support from all my friends that I did not have to fighting this disease alone. Each prayer and kind thought was appreciated and I believe that each one made a difference. I kept a journal online to let everyone know how I was doing throughout my treatment and I leave this journal online so that new patients can read it and get some perspective. I know I was eager to read the experiences of other patients when I was diagnosed and I hope that my journal help new patients in a similar manner. Many people expressed a desire to help through my treatment and I realized that I had to accept that help to make it through. (This was very much not in line with my personality!) The schedule of those that helped me by providing car rides to my treatment is also still online. Thanks again to everyone.
I also have a post-treatment journal that is usually only updated when I go back for follow-up visits.

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