Could you imagine going through a life-changing event that you never thought would happen to you?
I never thought I would experience something like this.
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May 2011. (This was after I had lost my parents in 2008, and 2010). I was 23 at the time and noticed a lump in my neck, painless lump and because of my mom’s cancer history and the lump wasn’t going away I decided to get it checked out.
I am the oldest in my family with a younger brother and sister and needless to say after the years we have had, we were not hopeful of this news. We had been through so many tumultuous moments that now it was my turn and it was devastating. I didn’t know what to feel and I absolutely didn’t know what to expect.
Never Thought I Would Experience This
Soon, I was going through tests and seeing doctors that I never thought I would experience. I soon had a port placed in my chest which left a huge scar that is very visible in any womanly shirt or dress that I wear. Also, I was going through chemotherapy “orientation”. They were going into detail about ALL of the things that could go wrong for me and the bad side effects which was very overwhelming.
My first day of chemo was eight hours and it was just my sister and myself hanging out all day and we made the most of it. We made fun of the drugs, we made fun of my IV stand and even named him. I think by this time, as long as I appeared fine and was healthy going through this, I knew as well as my family that I could get through this.
I made it through 8 rounds of chemo and 3 weeks of radiation and lost my hair, but was able to get a wig quickly. Working full time during my treatments kept up a pretty normal life for me. I had a boyfriend and some friends and family who supported me.
I was in remission February of 2013 and I made it through! That summer my hair started growing back and I had a new cute pixie cut that I was getting used to, but of course I missed having longer hair.
I Had Relapsed
My boyfriend and I soon broke up. We just couldn’t get through the stress, as half of our relationship was spent with all of these horrible events. At the time, that was also devastating. I was healthy and we had plans to finally live together and get on with our lives. We had been together for six years and it was something I didn’t want to end.
Not soon after I was diagnosed again with the same cancer – I had relapsed. Within an hour, I was getting a phone call from a reproduction clinic telling me I had been referred to have my “eggs frozen” because this next round of chemo will knock out any chance I will have to have children.
I was soon going with my aunt and my uncle to a repro clinic to have daily ultrasounds to retrieve my eggs. I was absolutely just the lowest of low because right after this procedure, I was starting chemo yet again – new drugs, new hospital, new doctors. This time I could not work and wouldn’t work for six months.
What I Learned from This
Somehow, this round of cancer felt more life changing than before. I had a different support group this time around. Better friends and I had to depend on my loved ones a little bit more. It brought me closer to so many more people in my life and I am forever grateful for the journey they took with me.
What I learned from this is that it is all about ATTITUDE. It is all about how you approach your journey. I took this head on my second time and I focused on ME this time. You quickly learn what is important and what isn’t important in life.
I lost friends after my first round with cancer and for that I am grateful – grateful to find out those weren’t my real friends. I am beyond grateful that this second cancer bout brought me closer to many friends who are my absolutely best lifelong friends.
Blogger: Lauren Najar
Blogger Bio: She is the founder of Laugh Always. She’s a two time cancer survivor and she created Laugh Always as a way to help lift people up in times of difficult journeys. This is a group of people who come together to help one another get through and share stories of motivation. Laugh Always was a term she created during her first round of cancer and to her, it describes the attitude of how you should approach life in general.
Blog name: Laugh Always
Facebook: Laugh Always
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