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Inspirational Stories


diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)

During COVID, I completed my graduate degree. This was in 2020, and things started to look up. Not only did I become the first member of my family to achieve a graduate degree, I also did it pregnant. I welcomed my second child in 2020, two months after graduation. In 2021, once the world settled a bit, I began to go on a healing journey where I started working on my mental and physical health. It was amazing, I finally began feeling great about myself, had the stamina to enjoy my children, and was in a career I loved. In August 2021, I started to have intense chest pains that had become unbearable. I went to the local ER and was told it was anxiety. The following day I contacted a psychiatrist to get on anxiety medications along with starting therapy. I was so confused; I had been managing my anxiety without medication thus far and felt defeated. However, I hated how I was feeling. I was put on multiple anxiety medications, and it would change every six weeks for eight months. I was on Cymbalta, BuSpar, hydroxyzine, propanol, Ativan, Effexor, and trazodone which was supposed to help with sleep since the chest pain would not allow me to. In December 2021, I went to see my primary care doctor. At this point, I had developed multiple other symptoms besides the persistent chest pain. I could not sit or stand without being in pain. That fitness journey, I started to notice I could no longer lift as heavy as I once was, and I was told at that appointment I had early-onset arthritis in my lower back. I was given prednisone and a muscle relaxer. None of these medications were helping; things began to get worse. I could not sleep, I truly felt like I was having a heart attack every single day. In April 2022, I went back to the same ER as I did the previous year and was given a CT scan of the chest after arguing for one. Once the CT scan was complete, 45 minutes went by, and the ER doctor and nurse walked in and told me I had a mass that was sitting in my mediastinum. They also told me that the mass had grown a little bit from the CT scan that was done in August. Once I was told this, I let them know I was never told about a mass, and that's when they said "We know, we are sorry, we don't know how the doctor missed it." This happened three days before my birthday. 

From April through August, I went to so many doctors. I had an MRI, that led to a biopsy, which led to two other surgeries due to severe necrosis. In August 2022, I finally got my diagnosis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Within a few weeks, I began a treatment regimen called R-EPOCH. I would go in on a Monday for Rituxan® treatment that lasted between three to six hours, and then on Wednesday, I would be admitted to the hospital for inpatient chemo that lasted until Monday. It was a 96.5-hour-long chemo with chemo pre-meds being administered every 24 hours. After 12 rounds, I was put into remission, however it impacted my ability to have children. I was a 31-year-old woman who went through menopause both chemically and naturally due to the aftermath.

Now today, 2024, I am in private practice. I do a lot of trauma work, and I will be teaching at a college starting this fall. I remember the moments of sadness I felt. I felt defeated. I had such an amazing oncologist and a wonderful team who helped me through every second. I continued working full-time, going through supervision for my independent license and was a mom to two amazing little girls. My life was chaotic, but when I look back now, that entire experience gave me a voice. I preach advocating for yourself to the clients I see. It helped me grow and understand my body and mind, while also giving me the courage to follow my dreams and not settle. Life is so precious. While the journey was one of the hardest things I have ever been through, it made me stronger and taught me how to appreciate what I have and the people I have surrounding me.

diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, woman, white, bald, purple top