Trying to Survive: Kelly's Inspirational Fight Against Lymphoma


This two-part article was written exclusively for by Kelly James. Kelly discusses how being diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin's lymphoma changed her life and how her recovery has been an unexpected process of emotional healing.

The four hardest words I’ve ever said to those I love were: ”I found a lump.” Because we all know what that can mean, and for me, it meant that I was diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It happened the week before my 35th birthday.

Discovering Danger

After noticing a painless lump above my collarbone, I began a surreal and terrifying diagnostic process. I survived weeks of biopsies, scans, waiting, praying and breathing only through the grace of God. Then the day came when the doctor finally said it out loud, and it became real. I had cancer.

The moment I received the news was shocking but strangely peaceful because I finally knew what I had to fight, and so I did. I completed four cycles of ABVD chemo followed by 15 radiation treatments over a five-month period. My first post-treatment scan was clear, and the next will be in six months. So now I find myself caught somewhere between being a patient and being a survivor, and that’s a difficult place to be.

Finding a New Perspective

I believe there are just a handful of events that occur during one’s lifetime that truly alter your course. There are events that change your world so drastically that your reality is forever changed. Being told you have cancer is one of those moments, and trying to survive is a daily challenge. The “after cancer” period was unexpected for me. I honestly believed that my end-of-treatment date was the end of having cancer, but I was wrong.

Fighting cancer takes a physical toll on your body, but your spirit also takes time to heal. During chemo, I was blessed with a wonderful new friendship with a gentleman much older and wiser than me. He said that because of the cancer, I was given a precious gift that most people my age don’t get: perspective. Having faced my mortality at such an early age, I now fully understood how precious and fragile life was.

In Part II of this article, Kelly discusses how she has struggled to return to her daily life now that she is a survivor, what she found useful during treatment, and her renewed hope for life.

LymphomaInfo Social