Lindsay, Hodgkin Lymphoma
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2003. Leading up to my diagnosis, I had been feeling absolutely awful. I was newly married, just 21 years old, pregnant with my first baby, and was absolutely exhausted all the time.
I worked at an apartment complex and going up the stairs would leave me absolutely panting out of breath and sweating. I would go to work and then go straight to bed when I came home because of the absolute exhaustion I felt. I didn’t notice it, but my husband noticed that when I talked on the phone, I was completely out of breath and gasping for air.
One day when I came home from work, I had to stop partway up the stairs to catch my breath. My husband saw me and knew that that wasn’t right. Not long after that, I started coughing so hard that as I was walking up the stairs, I threw up.
We went to the doctor where they did a bunch of pulmonary function tests and determined that I only had 47% lung capacity. I was drenched with sweat after those tests because it was so hard for me.
They scheduled me for a CT scan because they thought that I might have a blood clot in my chest. It was so awful because my scan wasn’t until 4:00 in the afternoon and I had to fast the whole day. Being pregnant made that even harder and after the scan, we just wanted to get out of there so that I could get something to eat, but they kept telling us to wait.
Finally, my husband went up and asked the lady at the desk if we could leave. When she told us the doctor wanted to meet with us, we both knew something was very wrong.
They told me that they thought that I either had lymphoma or leukemia. I was in such shock that all I could do was nod my head and smile. It took several more weeks of tests, procedures, surgeries, scans, and biopsies to determine that I had Hodgkin lymphoma.
The really amazing part is that as soon as I started receiving chemo, I felt better. The chemo should have made me incredibly sick, but it didn’t. I also expected to lose my hair but didn’t. Something about being pregnant changed the way my body reacted.
My therapy had the potential to make me infertile, but miraculously, my baby girl was born healthy but premature. She was a month early and was tiny but was otherwise in great health.
I ran my first marathon just shy of 2 years after my diagnosis & have been running ever since. That baby girl just graduated from high school this May and I have two more beautiful daughters.
I learned from this experience that I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was, to never take my health for granted, miracles do happen & a positive attitude can do wonders!