Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Questions About Treatment & Side Effects

A little update here !

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Hello friends and fellow AM forum members.

Its been a while since I posted on here but wanted to touch base with my AM friends to say hi as well as provide a bit of an update.  Also I have a question for you all.  Many of you I keep up with on FB and you already know my developing situation, but others do not.

I found out this past week that I have Hodgkin Lymphoma.  The treatment for this type of cancer at a minimum will be several cycles of chemo with possible radiation.  Tests are all done and I am in that 'waiting for results' period of time to determine the exact stage of development my condition has reached. 

OK, question regarding my HIV treatment (Atripla) is this:  Have any of you or are any of you aware of issues that chemo may have on HAART?  One of my concerns would be if the nausea comes (during chemo), I am wondering if my daily dose of Atripla would remain strong enough in me so as not to create compliance issues.  I will discuss this in detail with my ID Spec but was looking here too to see if any of you have ever gone through chemo while on HAART? 

My lump (nicknamed it Mr Lumpy) was discovered in September and I wasted no time getting to doctors so they could take a 'look see'.  Now my biopsy has been done (three lymph nodes removed) and the analysis shows my tissue stains for Hodgkin Lymphoma.  Another fight underway shortly.... thank goodness I have more strength for this one than I did when initially diagnosed with AIDS. 

Please... if you guys notice abnormally swollen lymph nodes, don't ignore it.  Get it checked out.  My hope is this is being caught in stage I or II (worst case).  The good news is my VL is back to being UD.... but that slight trend of my CD4s going slowly down from mid 300s to 192 may be indicative of my body fighting cancer.  Talk about an opportunistic piece of shit! 

So... if any of you have had (or know information regarding) the experience of treating cancer while on HIV meds, I would love to hear from you. 


(corrected... current CD4 is 192 not 292)

Jeff G:
Hi James . Im wising you the best and I want to thank you for your update here .

I was in chemo for a long while and never had any serious issues with nausea while on Atripla . I guess it all could come down to the chemo drug and dose but I was pleasantly surprised at how well I tolerated the treatments . I was in chemo for Kaposi sarcoma so it may not be a fair comparison .

I will be thinking of you and hoping for an update when you feel inclined .
((( BIG HUG )))) . 

Thanks Jeff.  ABVD is the treatment I will take and I plan to start out w/o a port.  My hope is that if I am catching this in stage I or II, I may only need 3 to 6 cycles which is one treatment ever 15 days for 3 to 6 months. 

I am finding that the cost of cancer treatment makes HIV treatment seem like a bargain basement sale!   So far just an outpatient surgery and tests alone are about as much as my 2 week stay in the hospital when I was being diagnosed with AIDS.

I wish a pill would cure HL but nope... gonna take bigger guns this time.  I do plan to take the anti nausea drugs (strong ones) and of course anything that will keep the runs at bay too. 

There is a support site for Hogies too but not nearly as many folks there (which is actually good when you think about it).  Don't wish this crap on anybody!

The silver lining is that treatment for HL has a 95% success rate.  It will do a number on your system though while in treatment. 

I'm sorry to hear about the HL diagnosis.  I am glad you found it early.  Can I ask you where the lump is located?  How did you discover it?  Was it noticeable or was it something that of you weren't looking you would have missed?

I'm sorry if that's a lot of questions.Lymphoma is a common occurrence for people with HIV and with your experience we could learn more about the signs, etc.

Regarding the nausea, I hope it's not bad.  Are you in a place that allows medical marijuana?  It really does help with nausea and some other chemo side effects, including keeping your appetite and strength up.

Again I'm sorry but it sounds like you are getting good care. 

I noticed in mid September a slightly swollen area in my right side arm pit when I was in the shower.  It was getting ever so slightly larger by the day actually until it got to maybe about the size of my hand.  This thing was totally painless but was obviously swollen. 

I went into see my GP that next week and he initially put me on Bactrim for 10 days but also ordered an ultrasound.  So at this point we are getting into late September and I move my ID Spec appointment up a week so I can discuss this with him too.  His nurse setup an appointment with a surgeon who put me on his schedule for the very next day.  A week after surgery my results were being presented to me and I had an appointment with my Oncologist setup.  This past week I had my PET, CT, ECHO, and Pulmonary Function Tests done (all to determine the stage where I am) and plan to take my first treatment of chemo during that first full week in November. 

This is all going rather fast!  Its best to NOT waste time with cancer as you know.  The only way I would have not noticed this lump would have been if I did not wash under my arms so it was very easy to spot.  The PET scan will show if I have cancer in other areas where obvious swelling is not felt.  Sooooo, I hope its early.  I do know I wasted NO time getting into see doctors once I found this. 

Please not ignore swollen lymph nodes.  Yea, not all are going to be cancer but do not wait and see if it all gets better for too long.  If you do not see improvement, get it checked out!


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