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My story started when I was a senior in high school. It was the beginning of 2016, so it was the middle of the school year, January. I remember being excited for prom coming up in April, I got my dress before the school year started. It was a beautiful purple sparkly dress with a slit on the leg. But that excitement would soon turn to dread when I started to develop a serious and intense itch on my legs and feet. It was from the knee down when it started. I remember thinking at the time, maybe I ran into some weeds, or my body was sensitive to the lotion that I put on, or maybe I needed to shower more often. I kept it from my mother thinking it would go away in a couple of days, I didn't want her to worry about me. But days turned into weeks, and my mother eventually noticed how scarred and scratched up my feet were, since I couldn't wear socks so much anymore. One night, the itching got so intense that I was itching really bad to the point where I was finding skin underneath my fingernails. I tried to do lotion and take a bath, but it only intensified it to the point where I couldn't take it anymore. My mother had hit her breaking point and took me to the emergency room.
The first time this happened, the doctors thought that I had scabies. So, they gave me the cream that you got to put on from your shoulders down. But that didn't help it at all. The next time we went to the emergency room, I was asked all kinds of questions about my lifestyle. I asked them to clarify and they asked if I did any drugs like heroin, meth or cocaine. This made me mad because I have never touched that stuff in my life, but these doctors were accusing me of doing just that. I remember being so shocked that they were asking me that, I even told them to do a drug test and that it would prove that I'm clean. I was clean, and they were left seriously wondering if it was a psychological thing. Of course, I eventually got the clear on that reasoning as well. Eventually, the doctors told me to stop coming back. So, going to the prom, I had to cover up my legs because of the hideous scars and scratches that had appeared over the course of months. It made me really sad and disappointed.
After graduation, I got out of a relationship and into a new one. My new partner started to notice me itching and my scars really quickly, and I wasn't ashamed to tell him what has been going on. Shortly after, we found out that we were going to be parents. We both were really surprised and happy. Now, keep in mind, the mysterious itching was still going on at this point.
So now, fast forward to January of 2017, a year of dealing with the itching. I was five months pregnant when I started to develop a new symptom, a cough that would last for a good fifteen to thirty minutes. During these coughing fits, I would have a very difficult time breathing and other times, a type of mucus would come from my lungs and plaster me. It was an alarming symptom. The doctors thought that it was acid reflex and didn't take any of it seriously. In May 2017, my son was born. It was a very happy moment in my life, but not for long. My scratching and scars started to get so bad that I would physically have to scratch in order to fall asleep. It also started to slowly spread from the knees to my upper legs, to my tummy and then to my chest. I started to get extremely self conscious now that it was starting to become more visible and I wasn't able to hide it so much. But, one day, I was changing my sons diaper, and I started to get into a coughing fit and I passed out.
Luckily, my husband saw what happened and helped me right away. After that, my husband was keen on making sure that we found out what was going on with me not matter the cost. So we started to do labs, but my blood showed nothing out of the normal. The doctors were just as puzzled as I was, but we decided to do an x-ray just to see if there was something there. Sure enough, the x-ray showed a mass the size of my fist in my right lower lung. Now, we had to do a bunch of scans and a biopsy of the mass.
About a month later, we got the results. It was Hodgkin's Lymphoma, I was at Stage Two. About two weeks after that, we had to insert a port, which is a device used to administer chemo into the body. Immediately after the surgery, I did my first round of chemo in July. I did alright, but the next morning, I didn't wake up until five in the afternoon! I'm glad that my mother was living with us at the time, because she took care of my son when I couldn't. I did my chemotherapy bi-weekly. I did chemotherapy from July until December. In September, I got married to my husband. The picture above is my mother zipping up my dress. It was one of the happiest days of my life, even with everything that was going on. On my last chemo treatment, I got to ring a bell that was a tradition for all the chemo patients to do afterwards. I remember feeling a sense of relief and joy when I did that.
Now I do check ups where I get scans done and so far I have been cancer free since the beginning of 2018! I don't need to do another scan for another year since all of them have been clear. I am so glad that I had family and friends to help encourage me through this rough time. If you are reading this and you feel like something is wrong with your body, please don't ever give up! It just might save your life, you know your body more than anyone, so listen to it!