I am a two-time Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed with stage 2 HL in 2006. I underwent chemo and radiation. The doctors at my check-ups were no longer looking for cancer but looking for the effects the treatment had on me. Well, eight years later it came back aggressively as stage 4 HL in my lung. I went to Dr. Armitage at Nebraska Medicine and underwent a stem cell transplant using brentuximab vedotin, a target therapy drug that was successful. He is a worldwide expert on lymphoma, so I knew I was in good hands.
I have given talks for the Nebraska Medical Center and did Light The Night walk, along with participating on the Lymphoma Committee for fundraising for research. I am grateful for the medical professionals and staff that helped me along the way! I’ve also done commercials for the new wig clinic to inform people of the wig services provided to patients and have participated in the new stem cell transplant educational videos on what to expect while going through a stem cell transplant. I’m very positive and try to encourage others to keep a positive attitude. Although it’s hard to see sometimes, gratitude is everything! I’m grateful for medical professionals, for people who donate for more research, and for having access to one of the best lymphoma teams in the world right here in my city. I have participated in “Look Good Feel Good” clinics because every day during treatment I showered, walked, put on my makeup and wig, and tried to keep a very positive attitude because I didn’t want my sons to worry about me. I wanted them to see their mom the way they knew me.
I’d love to continue sharing my story because I’m extremely passionate about helping others know they are not alone, that they should never give up or lose hope no matter what the prognosis is. I had stage 4 HL, and I am still here and healthy. I believe our battles in life can make us stronger than ever and get us to a place where we wouldn’t have been without the struggles. I also lost a son in between my cancer diagnoses. So, trust me when I say you get so sad when you have no control over the disease, but you do have control over your reactions. For myself, I became more at peace and felt the power and strength given as a gift from God that I’d have never felt before. Before I was sick, I was anxious and had a lot of anxiety. It wasn’t until my struggles that I left it all up to God knowing God is in control and what is meant to happen is in God’s plan. No book can teach you what life experiences teach. I love to encourage others and share more details about the “signs” and experiences I’ve received. I’m not a religious person, but I have gained a lot of faith which helped in my healing process. This I know.