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Lymphoma and Pets
A Fierce Determination to Live: Jen's Story
This article was written exclusively for LymphomaInfo.net by Jen Mullin, a blogger and lymphoma survivor. She shares her determination to recover lymphoma despite a devastating diagnosis.
At the age of 24, cancer was the very last thing on my mind. So it came as a shock when I was diagnosed with stage 2B Hodgkin's lymphoma in February of 2012.
I always knew something was wrong as I'd suffered months of crazy symptoms ranging from night sweats to excessive itching, all of which were dismissed by my doctor and treated separately. I was told the itching was scabies, the weight loss was stress, the chest pains were costochondritis.
Discovering the True Source
The chest pain bugged me a lot; I often ended up in the back of an ambulance because of it. But if it weren't for the chest pain, they probably would have never come across the mass of tumors in my chest, armpit and stomach.
Upon visiting my hematologist I was told I had quite a large lump in my right armpit. I was completely unaware of this, but how often do you check there for lumps? I was sent for a biopsy the same day and told that there was a very high chance that I had Hodgkin's lymphoma.
After scans, bone marrow biopsies and blood tests, it was official – I had cancer. Most people would probably be devastated to find out they have cancer, but I felt relieved. After months of taking medication for things that weren't even wrong with me, I would finally be getting the right treatment I needed.
At the time of my diagnosis my sons were 18 months and 6 years old, and the thought of possibly having to leave them was not an option. There was no other option for me but to fight!
Determined to Stay Alive
Chemo wasn't an easy ride for me – the side effects hit me bad! I was often neutropenic, so I contracted quite a few infections and spent lots of time in the hospital. It was hard to be away from my family, but I knew I was in the best place and I understood that my health took top priority.
Positivity is something that comes quite naturally to me, and I believe that it helped me deal with everything a lot easier. Even in my worst moments I was determined not to let cancer take away my smile.
Connecting with Others
I know many people find it hard to deal with cancer, so I decided to take up blogging. It was a way for me to let the world know that even though I was up against a life-threatening disease, it wasn't the end of the world. My upbeat attitude and honesty brought me a lot of extra support, and hearing about how I'd inspired people really gave me a boost in confidence.
I'm now 11 months in remission and enjoying having both my hair and energy back! I'm still working on getting my health back up to scratch, but I've managed to raise over £1000 for various cancer charities while recovering, so I'm not in any rush!