My cancer journey began in March of 2015. Although this was when I was officially diagnosed, the process of finding out went on long before. I was 20 years old and a Junior at The University of Georgia. At the time, I was suffering from chronic fatigue, headaches, and neck pain. I had seen the doctor a few times for my symptoms, but most visits I was deemed an overworked college kid. Although I was going to school as a full time student, working a part time job, and raising a puppy, I knew that something was seriously wrong. My next doctor's appointment, my Epstein Barr tested extremely high. Again, I did not think this was the final answer. Things still weren't adding up. I had lost about 45 lbs and my intuition was telling me otherwise. At this point, I asked to get a scan of my neck done. I was in too much pain and needed more answers. The scan came back showing abnormally large lymph nodes in my left collarbone area. A few scans and biopsies later, we discovered that I had stage 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma.
I left college and proceeded to go through six months of ABVD Chemotherapy.
We decided against radiation, as my breasts, thyroid, and heart would have all been radiated, potentially causing more problems down the line. The treatment was tough, but I got through it with a positive mindset and outlook on the whole situation. This is part of my path, and I couldn't be more grateful for it.
Now, this is the part where most people will say, "You are so strong, I can't imagine going through what you've gone through"; and to that I typically say that I never would have imagined handling this the way that I have either. When life hits you in unexpected ways, you gain a new perspective, and I quickly learned that what I was going through was nowhere near the extremes that many people endure with this awful disease. In my case, I took it day by day and personally grew more than I could have ever imagined. I am lucky enough to still be in remission 2 years later. I have moved to Colorado and will be finishing my undergraduate degree this year.
The strength and confidence I have gained is pushing me to new heights and has set me up for my next chapter. I am honored to now be in a position of giving back. I have been nominated for the Woman of the Year Campaign for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Rocky Mountain Chapter. I have harnessed those same positive aspects that I relied on throughout my treatment to support the funding and research of blood cancers. This funding not only affects blood cancer research, as the scientific findings are helping all areas of cancer research. With all being said and done, I am grateful to live my life with a broadened perspective, acknowledging that this is my journey. I will continue it with purpose, gratitude, and passion no matter what life throws at me next.
Consider donating to CellCycle and supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).