Around Christmas my hair started noticeably falling out and I decided to go ahead and shave my head because I have cancer.
It started with a lump in my neck back in August that I was concerned about.
Between August and November I worked through doctors, CT scans, an ears/eyes/nose/throat specialist who ordered a fine needle biopsy and I was diagnosed on November 10th just one day after my two beautiful twin nephews were born.
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Non-Hodgkin’s High Grade (rapid & aggressive) B Cell lymphoma—basically cancer of the lymph nodes. We all have several lymph nodes throughout our body and my affected areas were the ones in my neck.
When it comes to different forms of cancer I am extremely fortunate to have a highly treatable form of lymphoma and after having a PET Scan, my bone marrow tested and had surgery to implant a port in my chest I started chemotherapy on December 10th. With a high cure rate and good health insurance I know I’ll end up being alright but my heart goes out to the people that are affected by much more severe or terminal forms of cancer and I have come to realize how lucky I am to have the type of cancer that I do.
I found a great doctor at the UF Cancer Center out of Orlando Health that specializes in Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but also has a lot of experience with this type of cancer in younger people (yes, 30 is still considered young in the medical world) and as of right now they are anticipating that I have a 97% chance at being cancer free after 4 months.
I have chemotherapy every 3 weeks for several hours.
So far my body has responded very positively to it—I’ve been a bit more tired and keep losing weight so I sleep when I need to and eat when I have an appetite. Other than that I have not had any other real pain or nausea from my treatment so far. My hair coming out in clumps was the first time I felt like anything was different and rather than let it happen I decided to shave my hair down until all of this is over and done with. The only thing I REALLY miss is eating sushi. The doctors advise against eating raw fish when your immune system is being broken down from the medicines being put into you.
With my nephews being born premature and me being diagnosed I saw my entire family come together the way a family should and I feel closer to my parents and brothers than I have in many, many years. This happening also re opened the lines of communication with my older brother whom I had not talked to in over 4 years.
I would be lying if I said I haven’t cried or that this has been a stress free situation because it has been very stressful at times. I also realize that when I am stressed I am not always the best or most friendly person to be around and I apologize to anyone that I’ve been short with or if I seem distracted or a little selfish these past few months.
Having cancer and sitting in a chair for several hours thinking about life has given me a very honest look at where I am in my life and what I am doing to make myself happy, care for and help others and to take care of myself.
The day after I was told that I have cancer I heard something really beautiful that I’m holding on to: “When you replace ‘I’ with ‘we’ even illness becomes wellness.”
I have never felt like I am going through this alone because of family and friends and the prayers and support from tons of people, both from my past and from church on into my present and even repairing certain friendships because in the grand scheme of things life is too short to be angry or hold a grudge.
This is the first time in a long while that I have only had to focus on myself and making it through my treatment and trying to be as healthy as possible — these are life changes that I intend to make stick as I move into my 30’s.
Instead of focusing on dating someone or just trying to get laid I am instead trying to make myself into the best version of myself that I can.
I wrestled with how much of this I wanted to share with people online or on the radio show because the last thing I want or am looking for is sympathy or pity or to even be accused of those things.
I choose to share a lot about what happens in my life and for the first time I held off and I am glad I did–my level of comfort with having cancer and starting treatment was not where it needed to be at the time and I only let family, a few friends and the guys on the radio show know what was going on in the beginning. Now that it’s out there I don’t feel like I have any reason to be afraid or self-conscious and thankfully I have a pretty nicely shaped head.
This too shall pass.
All will be well.
Sincere love and thanks,