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Inspirational Stories

Jenna

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)

Huntingdon Valley, PA

Nobody ever expects to be diagnosed with cancer at 28, but that’s exactly what happened to me. It came completely out of the blue. I had zero symptoms. My cancer was found through a chest X-ray after I got my port placed (yes, I had my port before cancer!). Prior to cancer, I had been receiving IV therapies for other conditions I had, and I needed a port for that. After a couple of weeks, an excisional biopsy, a PET scan, and multiple blood tests, I found myself in my oncologist’s office receiving my full diagnosis Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), mixed cellularity subtype, stage 2AX. I would start chemotherapy 10 days later.

Chemotherapy was something I was absolutely terrified about. When I thought of cancer before my diagnosis, I thought about chemo and what I saw on TV and in movies. I found that it isn’t really like that. Chemo to me was pretty uneventful during the actual infusion. I would watch TV, talk to my nurses, and eat some food pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I’d start to feel not so great (that’s putting it lightly) afterward, but it turned out that it was a lot more doable than I thought it would be.

I recently completed my treatment, and it still doesn’t feel real. I can’t believe that I went through cancer and chemotherapy at age 28. I can’t believe that through all of that, I finished my schooling for medical coding. I can’t believe that I got through the scariest, hardest, most trying time in my life. But I did. And I didn’t do it alone. I had my family and friends always by my side. I had The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) here for any information I needed, and I always knew that their information was reliable. I also had a social worker at my cancer center who helped me get through all of this. I highly recommend anyone going through this kind of journey to reach out and ask if your cancer center offers social work because it has been a game changer for me!

At the very beginning of my journey, I remember telling my mom, “I don’t know if I can do this.” Now, here I am. I did it. And so can you.

Jenna