What initially seemed like routine consequences of socialising turned out to be indicators of a severe underlying condition. Recently, a young woman from New Zealand shared a distressing health problem linked to a sudden decline in her alcohol tolerance. The alarming symptoms first surfaced in 2021 during her teenage years. The woman named Poppy Beguely experienced vomiting and developed a nasal sore and facial rash after consuming a few alcoholic drinks. Initially, Beguely ignored everything and attributed her symptoms to the typical socializing and partying with friends. However, things turned ugly when she began coughing up blood. Scared by the serious development, Beguely visited a hospital where she got the shock of her life as doctors told her that she was battling cancer. A year later, the specific diagnosis identified her condition as Hodgkin's lymphoma.
What is Hodgkin's Lymphoma?
Hodgkin's lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, which is a crucial part of the body's immune system. This cancer specifically affects the white blood cells known as lymphocytes. In Hodgkin's lymphoma, abnormal lymphocytes (Reed-Sternberg cells) build up in the lymph nodes, causing them to enlarge. The disease is typically diagnosed through a combination of physical examinations, medical history analysis, imaging tests, and sometimes a lymph node biopsy.
Symptoms of Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Common symptoms of Hodgkin's lymphoma include
- Painless swelling of lymph nodes
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
Poppy Beguely narrates her ordeal
"Prior to falling ill, I would go out with friends a fair bit and I could drink a lot and I would feel fine the next day. Sometimes I would have a little bit of a headache but nothing major. Then suddenly I noticed my tolerance was a lot less and my night would end with vomiting every time, even just after three drinks. The following day would be even worse. I would feel extremely unwell. I thought I might be allergic to alcohol," she told Newsweek.
In 2022, Beguely found herself hospitalized on two occasions following evenings spent with friends, as her symptoms intensified and became more prominent.
Yet, her medical journey took a complicated turn as she faced misdiagnosis on three separate occasions. Doctors mistakenly identified multiple skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis – common skin ailments characterized by irritation – leaving Beguely grappling with an inaccurate understanding of her health issues.
"The rashes ended up getting worse on a day-to-day basis and my face was completely covered. I was given medication and steroid cream but it never cleared up. At one point, I was even told I have irritable bowel syndrome," she told the outlet.
The final diagnosis took place when doctors identified a lump on Beguely's neck, prompted by her complaints of persistent neck pain. "A lump on my neck appeared and that was the giveaway. I went to a doctor complaining of a sore neck and I forgot to mention the lump. I told him about my other symptoms and he left me to look at my notes."
"When he came back, he told me I have all of the symptoms of cancer. I got an urgent ultrasound, which didn't look good," she said.
Beguely, who turned 20 in February 2023, marked a significant milestone in her life. By May, she completed the final round of a challenging four-month chemotherapy regimen.