A young customer service representative was diagnosed with blood cancer via a text message at work in December after noticing a small lump on her collarbone.
Kadi Watson’s world came crashing down after she was discovered on December 29 that she had Hodgkin lymphoma. She had no obvious symptoms except for the painless, pea-sized bump.
The 24-year-old from Adelaide felt fit and healthy, but noticed a small mass a few weeks earlier that seemed to appear out of nowhere.
Little did she know that the minor symptom was a sinister warning sign of the devastating cancer growing around her heart and shoulder.
After doctors ran tests, Kadi was bizarrely notified of the results via text message.
“The text was a copy of my biopsy results along with the paragraph ‘I want to see you next week to check your recovery and we will contact the hematologist to show you and make a treatment plan,'” Kadi said. FEMAIL, who was at work at the time.
“I knew what it meant…a phone call would have been nice.”
Kadi Watson’s (pictured) world came crashing down after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on December 29 last year despite experiencing no symptoms other than a lump on the collarbone
After doctors ran tests, Kadi received a text message informing her of the cancer
The lump itself didn’t hurt, but her right shoulder did for no “apparent reason,” which was enough to encourage her to see a doctor.
The doctor assured Kadi that she had “nothing to worry about” because she was young, has no family history of cancer and has no other symptoms.
At first the doctor thought she had a cervical rib that grows from the base of the neck just above the collarbone – but something far more sinister was going on.
Kadi had an ultrasound, CT scan and X-ray on the same day, turning the 40 minute appointment into a 4.5 hour appointment.
The following week, she received the devastating text message.
“I didn’t feel unwell, but out of nowhere a lump appeared on my collarbone on a Wednesday that forced me to go to the doctor,” said Kadi (pictured before diagnosis)
What is Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare cancer that begins in a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes.
The disease begins in a lymph node, usually in the neck, and then spreads through the lymphatic system from one group of lymph nodes to another.
Hodgkin lymphoma represents about 0.5 percent of all cancers diagnosed in Australia. About 11 percent of all lymphomas are forms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with the rest being non-Hodgkin’s.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can arise in lymph nodes anywhere in the body, while Hodgkin lymphoma usually starts in the upper body, such as the neck, chest, or armpits.
Hodgkin lymphoma is often diagnosed at an early stage and is therefore considered one of the most treatable cancers.
Each year about 600 people in Australia are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, mostly younger people aged 15 – 29 and older people over 65 years of age. It is more common in men than in women.
Source: Lymphoma Australia
After receiving the text, Kadi took the rest of the day off, went home and called her parents and sister.
“I have a pretty strong mindset and was just trying to process how to get through it. I assumed the worst at the time and didn’t know if it was curable,” she said.
A few days later she sat down with the doctor who confirmed she had cancer and a PET scan determined it was stage two, located around her neck, shoulder and heart.
To this day, doctors cannot determine what causes this type of cancer, and about 800 people will be diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma each year.
Kadi needed six months of chemotherapy, but doctors decided not to undergo radiotherapy because there would have been “too long-lasting side effects” – such as breast cancer or heart problems.
She is currently halfway through treatment.
A PET scan confirmed that the Hodgkin lymphoma was stage two and located around her neck, shoulder and heart
She has experienced some debilitating side effects from the treatment but has continued to work as much as possible. She has lost her hair, feels nauseous and tired.
“I still go for walks, still work when I can, and live a relatively normal life — I thought I’d be bedridden all day every day,” she said.
Kadi also has severe shooting pains around her shoulder and extreme heartburn from time to time.
Kadi needed six months of chemotherapy, but doctors decided not to undergo radiotherapy because there would be “too long-lasting side effects” such as breast cancer or heart problems. She will finish the treatment in three months
For Kadi, the shocking truth about the diagnosis wasn’t exactly the cancer itself, but the fear of a lack of meaning in life.
“When I heard the news, I felt stressed that I hadn’t done anything myself,” she said.
“I’d work, go home, work, go home — and I’d ask myself, ‘Okay, is this all there is to me?'”
“I kind of lost myself in a way. I had to rediscover who I was.’
When she’s done with the treatment, Kadi is determined to change and refresh her ‘old routine’.
For more information on Hodgkin lymphoma and other blood cancers, visit Lymphoma Australia or the Australian Cancer Council.