I was in college at Wilberforce University; it was 1997, and I was also in the Wilberforce University Choir. Although I was a busy teenager; I was tired, my lymph nodes in my neck and groin where swollen, and I passed out during choir rehearsal.
I never told the nurse about my lymph nodes, because in my mind I thought it would go away. She said I wasborder line diabetic, and I was placed on a diet.
In 1999 while in Maryland I was experiencing some serious female issues that over the counter medicine normally could cure, but the medication wasn’t working. I decided to consult a Gynecologist, and during that visit I revealed to the doctor my swollen, and by that time painful lymph nodes. I was immediately sent to another physician who could do a biopsy on my lymph node in my groin to see what it was.
I was very scared because the doctor told me it could be one of two things HIV/AIDS, or cancer. I was shocked, sad, and mad at myself for not taking care of it sooner; I had all of thesemixed emotions.
After a week of waiting I was called to come back for the results. I was away from Mom and Dad, but they were on the phone. It was Stage IIIA Hodgkin Lymphoma.
From the moment I received the news I went back home to South Carolina, and immediately started to receive rigorous testing.
Stage IIIA means the cancer was above and below my diaphragm. I was 21 years old; I had just turned 21, and I was going through the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
My veins where burned in my left arm from the strong chemo I was receiving, A word of advice if that happens to you buy Vitamin E gel tabs, puncture the pill, squeeze the medicine directly on the part of your arm or any other part of your skin that has been damaged by the chemo. Vitamin E is great for circulation.
Back to my fight to live, the cancer was in my neck, under my arms, I had a large mass behind my breast bone, and I my groin. I received twelve rounds of chemo,
and six rounds of radiation.
Radiation is detrimental to your body, because it literally shrinks the cancer by very strong radiation. It burns your skin and causes some damage on the inside of your body.
I had radiation to my neck which involved my throat and I couldn’t swallow. My throat hurt so badly and was swollen. I was given some great aids to allow me to
eat some. I’ve always been a curvy woman, but this did allow me to see myself slimmer, and I enjoyed that part of it.
One thing about me is that I will find the good in anything and anyone; no
matter what. After a year and a half fighting I WON. My late father always said,” you never complained, and I look up to you”. Five years passed by, and each year a clean bill of health.
I was back to my old self and I was now raising a daughter and a son. Then another five years, so in my mind I was done I had beat it; now I can get my life back.
On December 21, 2009 after being extremely sick for three days, and was in terrible pain in my upper stomach; I found myself at the emergency room.
After being there for almost an hour I wanted to leave, but a nurse said “with your history I think you should stay and have this CT scan”. I stayed, and when the doctor walked into the room I saw the look on his face; I was devastated because deep down I knew what he was going to say.
Just days before Christmas I was told I had cancer and it had reached my spleen, that’s why I was having all this pain. I cried so hard that night, but when I got home gospel was on the radio; God came over me and I was feeling the spirit! I had two children that need me;Time to FIGHT again.
After tests were run I found out it was Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer was almost everywhere from the neck down; my neck, under my arms, a mass behind
my breast bone, liver, spleen, pelvic muscles, and my groin. This time it was in more areas, and had also reached my blood. I was devastated all over again to hear that, knowing how cancer can be.
I was scared, not sure if I was going to make it this time.
From the moment the diagnosis was said my Oncologists asked me if I would be
interested in having a Stem Cell Transplant. It was 2010, and the ban had just been removed by President Obama for stem cell research. My prognosis was that it would only be 40% chance that I will never get cancer again after I went through my six months of chemo, and received the transplant.
In my mind I saw no wrong in trying; I see the Good in everything. As I beard
down for another fight I started to read my bible more, and realizing that “He” is real, because I wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t. I chose to harvest my own stem cells by a process called Hemapheresis. They pulled out my stem cells slowly collecting healthy cells. They then grew more healthy cells until I had enough for the transplant.
I did everything at Hollings Cancer Center & Medical University of South Carolina.
It took a lot to go through all of the strong chemo they had me on, I lost my hair twice,
and I went through a lot of changes. After three weeks in the hospital I was let out days early, had my ports removed a few weeks later, and I was on the road to where I am now.
I am a full time student working towards being a Surgical Technologists and will graduate in the fall of 2015. On January 3, 2015 I was crowned as Ms. Charleston Plus America 2015, and I will be competing on May 30, 2015 for the crown as Ms. South Carolina Plus America 2015.
My platform is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I have a group my local chapter is setting up; Team Queen, where we will be raising money and walking at the Light The Night Walk in Mt. Pleasant, SC this year.
What I went through moulded me into the woman I am today, very driven to do all the things I would not have been able to do if I did not win my fight against cancer.
Living life is exactly what I am going to do; you only have One so make the best out of it. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.
If you've recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and have yet to receive treatment you could be eligible to take part in a new clincial trial. Read more here.