February 28th, 2015
| Survivor: Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Tiffany was diagnosed with cancer shortly after giving birth to her first child and then re-diagnosed shortly after entering remission. Read more to find out how she coped during this difficult time.
Six weeks after giving birth to my first child, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. My world and my family's was stunned and shaken. I felt numb. Then, reality set in and I became scared. Not only did I have the worries of being a first time momma but now I had to add the worries of being a cancer patient as well.
I remember the night before my first treatment, rocking my precious brand new baby girl, just gazing and being mesmerized with her. I prayed countless times that she would never see me sick, never see me bald or never see the fear of this awful disease within me. I knew she was only weeks old, and would never remember any of these things, but that was still a fear that I had. And not only did I fear that for her, but the rest of my family. I prayed that those stages of the treatment cycle would never interfere with my being able to tend and care for this miracle baby my husband and I had created.
I began treatment in January of 2008 and took 12 chemo treatments. After the second treatment, I went in to remission, but still had to finish the 10 remaining treatments that were every other week. After the scan, 2 treatments in and getting my first scan good news, I felt relieved -- I would finish the remaining treatments and then go back to my life as a new mother. Or so I thought. After almost 11 months since my first chemo treatment, I was told the disturbing news again: the awful "C" word had returned to my body.
I remember sitting in the doctor's office room, enwrapped in my husband's arms and just asking the doctor "why?" Why me? Moreso, why me again? Right when I thought our lives were returning to somewhat normal, right when I didn't have to depend on others to help take care of me and our beautiful baby girl.
At least I know what to expect, I told myself. I knew the side effects I had with my first 12 chemo treatments and all of the changes my body went through. I knew what it felt like to be hooked up to one IV after another for countless hours while those terrible drugs were running through my veins.
So when my doctor warned me that my second journey was going to be much more extreme, I became even more scared and worried - both for me, for my baby girl and for my family. But I quickly realized that I didn't have time for my mind to be consumed with those thoughts, and my husband wasn't going to let me to be scared. I had 3 weeks to prepare for what lied ahead -- hospital stays for the chemo, prepping for a stem cell transplant, a 21-30 day stem cell transplant and 6 weeks of continuous radiation.
The planning began. I had to first get recovered from my hard last chemo treatment and the pheresis process of beginning the stem cell transplant. After a week from recovering and trying to get some rest, it was time to get planning. I probably had 3 different calendars laid out with who would stay with me, who would be staying with our baby girl and how my husband was going to keep employed and his job held down all while trying to be with me and take care of me and our daughter that was going to be 400 miles apart.
After the transplant was all over, and I completed my radiation treatments and got back on my feet, I decided that I had to stop asking "why me" and start asking, "why not me?" I felt it was my duty and my calling to show people in my community that this horrifying disease was beatable and I would be able to support anyone that needed it that was faced with these trials.
In August of 2009, I formed a cancer organization my hometown. I felt that I needed to give the love and support that was shown to me back to my community. I am proud to say the organization has raised more than $100,000.00 and helped over 50 individuals (in a community with less than 1500 people).
While I never understood why God chose me to have cancer not once, but twice, all within 18 months time, and for my family to have to face this, it made me so much stronger and so much more thankful and grateful for life. It has made me cherish the small things in life and I have learned you take nothing for granted. It also makes me understand the true meaning of true love when my husband stood next to me and held my hand very tight every step of the way.
Someone once told me that cancer can take a lot of things, but it cannot take your gratitude and most of all, cancer cannot take our love for life.
to continue the conversation.
Want to blog with us ?