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Inspirational Stories


diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (DLBCL)

On September 13, 2023, I found out I was four weeks pregnant with our second child. On October 24, I found out it was a girl; Nellie would be her name. November came, and my symptoms started with what was discomfort/pain in my right arm, neck, and shoulder. Initially, I thought I slept wrong, and also pregnancy does weird things to the body. Then my arm became very swollen and completely discolored, dark red to purple and even blue. Being a pediatric nurse practitioner, I did some research and came across Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I messaged my OB who agreed that it might be just that. He was going to get me in to see a vascular specialist to see what exactly was going on. In the meantime, the week of Thanksgiving, I began to have swelling on the right side of my neck; it grew and it grew quickly. My appointment with vascular was on November 28 at which time an ultrasound was done to assess my veins and arteries. During that ultrasound, a large mass was found in my neck. With the help of many people, I was able to get into Semmes Murphy Clinic two days later on November 30, and an MRI was also done. I was called the next day on Friday, December 1, with the results of the MRI. Not only did I have what was labeled as an “aggressive large” mass in my neck, but they also found a mass in my chest. The concern was for lymphoma and/or metastatic cancer. I sat with angst and despair the entire weekend. My first thought was I can’t leave my son and husband behind ― he needs his Mama and my husband needs his wife. Not only that, I had a precious unborn baby inside of me who also had to have a chance at life. I was quickly able to get into West Cancer Center four days later on December 5, at which time I had eight core biopsies taken from my neck. On December 7, I returned to West Cancer to obtain my results. I was given the diagnosis of diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (DLBCL). On December 8, I had full-body CT scans. Since I was pregnant and in the second trimester, I could not get a PET scan. I also had a bone marrow biopsy and port placement. I was to get six rounds of chemotherapy with my first one being on December 19 and my last being on April 2. My baby girl was to be born at 37 weeks, four weeks later, via a scheduled C-section after undergoing six rounds of chemotherapy while in utero; but my baby girl and God had other plans, and my water broke at 36 weeks, a week early, and she was born then instead. Beautiful, healthy, and with a head full of hair. I tell people she got all the hair that I lost. Now she is a month old, and I get my PET scan to see if I am in remission in two days.

To God, I give all of the glory. Our God is a God who doesn’t waste pain. And although I may not have understood what he was doing in the moment, now I do. Sometimes his greatest work happens in the most impossible situations, and what sometimes breaks you is also building you. God carries us through tough times! I truly with every ounce of my being believe that.

Young woman with bald head in purple sweatshirt diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (DLBCL)