The Other Symptoms of Cancer - Hodgkin's Lymphoma
After my own experience I would hope that no one ever gets cancer. Unfortunately this will most likely never be the case. Over a million people will be diagnosed with cancer next year in the United States. I myself had cancer twice. Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This year I was diagnosed again with Hodgkin’s, a different type than last time. Both times I had symptoms, primarily the appearance of lumps, but when it comes to the other traditional symptoms, I didn’t experience any of them or I didn’t experience any of them to any great degree to alarm me. For Hodgkin’s the symptoms are fatigue, weight loss, itchy skin, fevers, and night sweats. Of these, I never had a fever or night sweats. Weight loss was only moderate the first time and temporary the second time I had cancer. I did have itchy skin and fatigue but it was never dramatic. However, I had other symptoms, ones that were pronounced. They were:
Sweating on the Right Side
Before I was diagnosed with cancer the first time, I would inexplicably sweat from my right armpit for what seemed to be at random moments. It didn’t matter if I was physically active or sitting still. It would just happen. This was not night sweats because it never happened at night and it only happened at that one part of my body. The unusual thing about it was that the sweat didn’t smell like sweat. It was only water pouring out. Eventually lumps appeared on the right side of my neck that explained why this was happening.
During my treatment the first time I had cancer, I had radiation to the right side of my mouth and upper chest. One of my saliva glands was damaged permanently so when I suddenly had more saliva I found this odd. It definitely was a sign that my lymph system wasn’t working correctly. A few months later I was diagnosed the second time.
Heat off the Top of My Head and Shoulders
I first started noticing this at night and then later during the day when it was cold outside. I could feel heat rising off my head. Weeks later it progressed to my shoulders. When I told the doctor he ignored it because it wasn’t night sweats, but I know the cancer was causing this. Now that I am being treated and the days are getting colder, I don’t have this symptom anymore.
High Blood Pressure
My blood pressure over the past year had been somewhat high when normally it had been low all of my life. My second diagnosis found enlarged lymph nodes in my groin and along my abdominal aorta. I believe pressure on the aorta was causing this because, again, now that my treatment is winding down, my blood pressure has returned to normal.
Racing Heart Rate
I ended up in the hospital with what I thought was a heart attack. They couldn’t find anything wrong. My heart rate was 120 beats a minute and it occurred when I ate a lot. As mentioned above, pressure from the enlarged lymph nodes was causing this symptom.
Blood in Urine
Blood first appeared after I used a rowing machine. Eventually it became more frequent with less physical exertion. This was the symptom that made me go to the doctor and led to my diagnosis. The enlarged lymph nodes were pressing on my bladder.
I was depressed both times before I was diagnosed with cancer. Before my second diagnosis I was so depressed I was put on the antidepressant Lexapro. Before my first diagnosis, I actually quit a job. This was a job that could have taken my career in a different direction. The job had a lot of potential but I gave it up because of my depression. It both cases, my belief is the cancer saps so much energy from your own body it ends up dragging your mind down.
When I had most of these symptoms, the doctors dismissed them as not being related to the cancer. Once the symptoms went away after treatment, the doctors took notice. I wanted to write about it and present it here to let everyone know that they should pay attention to their body and don’t take anything for granted. If something odd is going on, see a doctor. These other symptoms could be important because not only may the traditional ones not occur but you may not notice any lumps when it comes to lymphoma. In both of my cases, I could feel lumps but I have run into other patients who never felt anything. So, this is a warning to always pay attention, to watch for any changes, but hopefully you will never notice anything. I hope no one ever has to go through what I have gone through.