Later on in August 2014 she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer that ended up taking her life in June 2015.
Aside from my own mother and various friends and family members experiencing cancer, I myself have been through the long road of cancer.
My cancer journey began in 2012. In April I broke off my relationship with a boyfriend to focus on just being me and dating me for awhile. I thought I was doing really well. I had been between 190 and 200 pounds at the point and had started to lose weight. I got down to about 140 pounds. I thought it was awesome that I was finally at my goal weight that the doctor has told me I should be at for a long time.
There was also one night where upon getting out of the shower I noticed a large lump near my collarbone. I went downstairs and showed my mom and asked her what she thought it could be. She told me not to worry about it and ignore it. I went back upstairs and ignored it. Two weeks later at family gathering I was sitting on a chair talking with one of my aunts when my mom stared down at my collarbone. She came over and began poking the lump that was still there. I could see her doing the math in her head and she urged me to go see the doctor. This is what the lump originally looked like:
I made an appointment and got sent for a biopsy. The biopsy procedure was done in office and only suppose to take about an hour or two at most. Mine took FOUR HOURS. The lymph node they pulled out was 3 centimeters by 2 centimeters and 2 centimeters high. NOT something that a normal lymph node near your collar bone should look like. It left me with a pretty cool scar that looked this:
I waited a few weeks and things really got strange. At the time this lump was discovered I was in the process of physical therapy to prove that my back aches are from my breasts, as I was perusing a breast reduction. August 22 I was at the physical therapy office when the doctors office called me on the phone at the PT office. Strange for them to do. They urged me to come in right away.
My parents and I drove from the hospital where I was having PT to the doctors office. We got there around 12:20 and had to wait until 1 when they opened after lunch. At this point I was on edge. I folded my hands, bowed my head and I prayed. I asked God to be with me and protect me in whatever they told me when I went into that office. I walked in and that was when I got the news that I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
I was SHOCKED. I never imagined that was the reason for my weight loss or all the symptoms like my tiredness and other things.
We went on to learn I also had a tumor down behind my heart which made me Stage 2 on the cancer level.
We opted to do a round of six chemo treatments and then 5 weeks of radiation.
I will say, the BEST invention to the cancer market, is the power port. Years back chemo was given directly through an IV. We have a family friend who went through chemo and burned his arms BADLY during chemo treatments. The ports allow them to administer chemo and draw blood. They are also scary because they connect directly into the veins to your heart. Here you can see my port in action at chemo:
In February 6, 2013 I finished Chemo and in April 2013 I finished radiation. One of the scariest things to be told during cancer was that chemo would likely kill any chances I had at conceiving a child. God works in mysterious ways because TWO WEEKS after finishing all treatments I was greeted by this:
It was amazing to tell the nurses a year later when I had my son on 2/4/14 that a year ago I was down in the same hospital receiving my last chemo treatment. My son is my miracle and has proved so much to me in my life. I so happy to have him in his life and my now husband who met me at a time when I was just diagnosed with cancer. In those first few months I was THE WORST girlfriend. I had no hair, I slept all the time, I was sick to my stomach because of treatments and medication.
The one memory I have during chemo is waking up from a nap during treatment and seeing him right there in the chair by my side. He would sit with me, even though all I did was sleep. I always dreamed my whole life of having someone who would be there through good and bad, and he has showed me just how much of a dream come true he is.
If you find yourself battling cancer whether you are the one getting treatment or the one in the chair beside the person, remember YOU ARE A WARRIOR.
One of my friends gave me the gift of this picture he made when treatment was over and I love the message in it: