Adeline’s Story – Breast Cancer then Follicular Lymphoma

"My Experience with Lymphoma and Breast Cancer"

 Hi, my name is Adeline and I am 61 years old. This is just a short story of my experiences with cancer.

I had Breast Cancer in 1998 and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, specifically Grade I Follicular B Cell NHL in August 2001. Yes, it has been quite a journey for me and quite a learning curve along the way.

After being diagnosed with L. Breast Cancer in May 1998 I had a subcutaneous mastectomy, which is an operation that carefully removes the fatty glandular tissue inside the breast, but leaves the skin for a breast implant. I originally was to have the breast implant done during the one surgery, but due to other major medical problems this was postponed to a later date.

In July 2001, I again went into hospital for breast re-construction, with the breast surgeon removing any tissue left and a plastic surgeon doing the breast implant. During the removal of the remaining tissue in the L. breast area, the surgeon noticed 2 lymph nodes that appeared slightly larger than normal, so he took them out and sent them to Pathology. Three days later the surgeon said, "Well theres no breast cancer and I said, "Thank god for that! But little did I know that pathology wasnt happy with the results, so they did more testing and it was sent to about 4 different pathologist and 27 days later my GP phoned one evening to say he was coming to see me that night at my home regarding the lymph nodes sent to pathology. Well, he arrived at 9.20pm to tell me that I may need chemotherapy as it looks like I have NHL and I have to see a Haematologist. I was shocked, stunned and numb and I did not comprehend much at all. Even my dear GP whom I know quite well could not believe it.

So my journey with Lymphoma began with the usual CT scans, blood tests, and bone marrow tests. I consider myself lucky in that the Lymphoma is not being made in my bone marrow and the CT scan showed only another 2 lymph nodes in my Left Axilla and a slightly enlarged spleen. I had 18 radiation treatments and now have blood tests and doctors visits about 3 times per year to keep a check on everything.

I also consider myself lucky, in that if I didnt get breast cancer they may not have found the Lymphoma for many years and then it may have been much further advanced.

Having cancer has changed my life. I appreciate life a lot more and have found out who my true friends are and dont take things for granted anymore. I have met some wonderful friends and great support from the Lymphoma Support & Research Assoc, the Leukaemia Foundation and Qld Cancer Fund.

I also realize we are all here for a good time and not a long time and we all will have a few hiccups along the way, so try to stay positive, enjoy and make every day count.



Adeline Hester

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