stage IVB Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)
South Lyon, MI United States
I was diagnosed with stage IVB Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) about a week after my 30th birthday in 2018. I was a new mom to an 8-month-old baby and had been experiencing several symptoms of Lymphomas the months after having my son, but I assumed they were from having a child and would never thought in a million years that it was cancer.
I received all of my care at The University of Michigan Cancer Center. My NP Dava and my doctor, Dr. Gitlin were top-notch in both my medical and mental treatment and care. My first round of treatment was pretty uneventful and after just 4 treatments my scans showed remission. My husband, my family and I were so happy that I was showing remission so early in my treatment. Per my treatment plan, I finished out the 8 remaining treatments and assumed I was good and all would be fine. However, during my 7-week post-treatment scan, the doctors noticed my cancer had resurfaced and they determined I had relapsed. It was so devastating and so discouraging. I worked and gave us up so much over the past 6 months to beat cancer and it was already back. I remember just crying and crying and wondering if this would be my life forever.
In February of 2019, I started my next course of treatment, an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. I had some complications leading up to my apheresis, but the University of Michigan Adult BMT team worked tirelessly (especially Adult BMT nurse Denise.) I had my stem cell transplant on April 23, 2019, and since then I have been in remission.
When I was sitting in the hospital away from my one-year-old son, husband, and family, I remember telling myself that when I was completely done with all of this treatment, I am going to do something big with my life. I am going to do something I am passionate about. I was always one to be making and crafting and using those products I made part of my home décor. Now that my business and home decor Instagram account has grown, I try to use it to bring awareness and real life to social media which includes sharing my cancer journey with all of my followers. I especially try to be honest and open about the PTSD many cancer survivors face because I still face them and I feel the survivorship PTSD is just not talked about enough.
I am so proud of where I am and I cannot believe how strong I am and how far I have come since my stem cell transplant. I love running fundraisers on social media with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and I truly appreciate all that LLS does to bring awareness and care to those with LLS.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and for considering me to be featured with your organization.