standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In a complete turn of events, the MRI
revealed a mass in my chest and I was suddenly talking with my doctors about the
possibility of cancer. I dropped everything and travelled to New York to
determine what this mass was; I could not believe cancer was even a possibility.
However, it was soon confirmed that I had Hodgkin lymphoma. I felt like I didn't
even have time to think or process what was happening because four days after
diagnosis I was being treated for blood cancer. I was scheduled to be given five
to six chemotherapy treatments over a four to six month period, which I learned
could be mentally, as well as physically, grueling.
I did not know anything about lymphoma.
At first, I actually did not want to know all of the details of this disease.
I was most concerned about whether or not Hodgkin lymphoma was a death sentence;
because for me that was all I knew about cancer. I soon realized though that I
had to accept and face my diagnosis. At this point I knew I needed to educate
myself so I could become my own best advocate.
Growing up, I was touched by my father's strength at living in public with a
chronic disease. I was able to draw on his sense of resolve now that I had a
struggle of my own. I began blogging for my fathers' web site as well as for Dr.
Oz. I needed to express myself and I knew immediately that I wanted to give back
and inform younger women like myself about lymphoma. That is why I am also now
working with the Lymphoma Research Foundation -- to raise awareness of the
disease and to help eradicate it so that others do not have to go through what I
On New Year's Eve my PET scan came back clear.
I still needed two more treatments and a follow up PET scan, but on New
Year's Eve I learned that I was officially a cancer survivor! I now have a
passion to help others touched by lymphoma. Personally, I feel stronger than
ever and I am even preparing to compete in bodybuilding competitions. While I
normally have longer to train, I am determined to overcome any obstacle. I am a
survivor and nothing can hold me back!
Lymphoma Research Foundation (March, 2014)