At the beginning of my cancer journey, as my tumor grew bigger and bigger, my blood pressure started to skyrocket. The tumor was pressing on my superior vena cava which carries blood from the heart to the head, neck, arms and chest. At the top level, it was compressing on my lungs; therefore, I unable to catch my breath and required the use of oxygen. As if that was not enough, I had the added bonus, that my tumor liked punching me internally. Well, at least this the only way I can describe it as it is how I felt the experience was to me. During this period in time, I was unaware that the reason for my tumor was due to my body developing what is known as primary mediastinal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Honestly all I knew is that I couldn’t breathe on my own and I felt like my heart was going to explode at any second. It was the single most terrifying feeling I had ever experienced in my life up until that point.
Another thing I experienced during this phase in my cancer journey, was that I could not sleep lying down on the bed because the tumor would further press on my heart and lungs which was unbearable to say the least. In the hospital, I always had the hospital bed upwards in an almost chair like position which is the only way I could actually sleep. Way before my cancer journey began, I always had a hard time falling asleep or even attempt to try to sleep in a chair because it was very uncomfortable to me. Now however, it seemed like my body had quickly embraced this new way of sleeping in a chair like position without giving it a second thought like it was the most comfortable thing ever. Needless to say, that my sleeping arrangements when I was back home changed drastically. I would either sleep sitting down on a chair or in a bit of an incline in a recliner. Thankfully, after the first chemo treatment, I no longer needed oxygen which was a huge relief. Sadly, however I still was unable to sleep lying down on the bed because the tumor would press down too much on the heart which triggered my blood pressure to elevate even higher and produce feelings of lightheadedness, dizziness and overwhelming feelings of discomfort. In other words, it was simply horrible. After the third chemo round, I was finally able to sleep better with only a bit of an elevation with pillows on the bed. Thereafter, around the 5th chemo round, I was able to sleep on my bed without all the extra pillows, it was wonderful yet strange. I had gotten used to sleeping on the recliner, but it was time to return to my bed.
Thinking back on it today still gives me chills. Thank God gave me the courage and strength to endure every stage in my cancer journey.