Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)
In July 2022, I began having shortness of breath. When I went to the hospital, I learned I had a mass in the mediastinal area of my chest. A few months later, after several biopsies, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). Boy, did my world turn upside down. Life became so unorganized and so hard. I started chemotherapy on October 5, 2022. My body became so weak and "toxic" that I couldn't finish my treatment plan. I had another biopsy. On April 18, 2023, I learned from the physician assistant that I was cancer-free. Then, after my first scan, I was told the cancer was still there, therefore radiation may help. I started radiation on August 27, 2023.
My life began to spiral downward again. How could this happen to me? I had lost my job prior to learning I had cancer because I felt depressed and sick all the time. I honestly thought the job had drained me working during the pandemic. I never imagined it would be cancer. So, for the past year, I lived off my savings. When my funds ran out, I sought $500 financial assistance from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). I was immediately approved for $100. It was helpful, and I was hopeful. But I wasn't eligible for the $500 because I could not provide proof of income. I honestly don't have any income. I want LLS to know that people’s lives are really turned upside down when they learn they have cancer. I suffered from depression and didn't file taxes. I applied for disability and was denied. Some people really don't have all the documentation needed for your financial services. But I do have cancer which was confirmed by the social worker at the cancer center. I'm happy to say I am working on gaining my strength and getting back to work. I know what the future holds, but I am inspired to start my own non-profit to truly help individuals diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma.