In August 2017, I ended up at the emergency department with severe upper abdominal pains. A CT scan showed I had pancreatitis, but also revealed nodules in many of my organs that needed further exploration. I was admitted into hospital that same day.
After getting a biopsy on some nodules in my stomach, I was diagnosed with stage 4 diffuse large b-cell lymphoma. My extent of medical knowledge at that point was minimal. It would grow immensely. Following a bone marrow test, which gives doctors further information about the spread of the cancer, doctors felt that they had enough evidence to determine the best treatment for me, and I started my chemotherapy. I had been in hospital nearly three weeks at that point. It was a period of great anxiety, but I was kept comfortable and informed by doctors and staff.
Throughout my treatment I had outstanding support from friends and family. My biggest supporter was my guide dog, Quilla. She never left my side, even while in hospital. She kept me laughing when I wanted to cry. My hematologist and the medical staff in the hospital and in the medical day unit (a place I never knew about but have come to love and respect) were outstanding. I can’t thank them enough for how they helped keep my spirits up and gave me hope.
After months of treatment, which included some hospital stays due to a low blood cell count, I got the news that I was hoping for. I am in full remission and I am feeling great. Through me having cancer, I have learned to appreciate life’s opportunities and those people in my life more. Cancer has changed my life for the better. Though it may not have been fun, it is a journey I would never want to take back.