Jennifer on Cancerous Tumor

Read time 3 minutes

Q-1) Could you briefly describe your story?

A-1) Unknowingly had CANCEROUS TUMOR growth in lymph nodes in the groin and left upper thigh. Five in total. Once a lump had been noticed I had gone into surgery for the removal of two lymph nodes for biopsy which came back as cancerous. The cancer cells were unusual and went to further testing at a higher (one of the top) cancer treatment facility. Cleveland Clinic found cancer to be a rare form of lymphoma. Anaplastic Large T Cell ALK Positive Stage 2. After diagnosis, I had a port surgically inserted for the ease of iv chemotherapy which started shortly after. Six treatments, one every three weeks, with BV-CHP the chemo regimen is proven to be very effective for my cancer.

Q-2) How has the disease changed your life, in terms of diet, work, and other activities?

A-2) Since finding the lump this disease has halted and at times completely stopped my life. From recovery from surgeries to recover from chemo, I find myself often in bed, sleeping. Some days I am hungry and eat a regular diet other I can barely look at food and have some fruit or anything my stomach can handle. I can get sick very easily as my immune system is what has cancer and the chemo treatment is halting new cells – white blood cells to grow. So my interactions with others are limited almost like I am undergoing quarantine.

Q-3) How do you keep yourself updated about your disease? Please specify if you are a member of an advocacy group; depending on government initiatives or reading about your disease.

A-3) I read up on lymphomas through the internet and bought myself some college-grade books on the subject. I learned most from others who had been going through chemo treatments and who either had YouTube videos or on Facebook support groups.

Q-4) Are your treatment options easy to access? Are they expensive? Is there a permanent cure for your disease?

A-4) treatment has been easy for me to access. I am under government health care so there are no out-of-pocket costs for me. I am under government health care because I am unemployed because of my cancer so it seems to have worked out for me to receive “free” treatment and have easy and fast access. There is a High “cure” rate of 90% though I’m uncertain if it is ever fully cured.

Q-5) How did the treatment affect your family’s financial situation? Did you have to take loans or borrow money from friends and family?

A-5) Since I am unemployed, I have government-assisted health care which is covering my treatment in full. However, I still have to maintain a home and car I am dwindling down any savings and starting to become more reliant on family and friends for help with any repairs that need to be done while I’m recovering.

Q-6) Are you trying out any alternate healing techniques?

A-6) honestly, I am smoking or eating marijuana while I’m undergoing chemo and I have changed my perspective on chemo as a more holistic and very healing experience and just trying to be grateful in everything and try to maintain a stress-free environment.

Q-7) How did you and your family deal with your changed circumstances?

A-7) My family has been extremely supportive. Though the news was shocking to have cancer so young, my family has reassured me that they are available to help and I use their help often as I am a single mom of a three-year-old girl. I need help and they are there for me.

Q-8) Please share one aspect of your journey that touched you most.

A-8) I have found myself being vulnerable not just to my family but to strangers letting people know I have cancer and I may feel silly or weak or humbled by something. Everyone around me voices their amazement and hope for me and I am constantly humbled by the love.

 Q-9) Do you have a secret to staying strong? What inspires you to keep fighting?

A-9) The secret to staying strong is not always staying strong. Have your bad days, let others help, and grow stronger with your environment by allowing the help. I continue because I know it is going to be ok regardless of the outcome.

Q-10) What would be your message or advice to patients diagnosed with rare diseases?

A-10) It’s beyond your control so stop trying to control it. Relax


The views expressed above in this article are the author’s own and do not represent any kind of medical advice.


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