September is Blood Cancer Awareness month. Every seven minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a type of lymphoma—that is why it is so important to not only raise awareness for this disease, but to fund cutting-edge research to one day find a cure. If you would like to donate to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, click on the link. They are making great strides toward finding a cure.
Even though I write about cancer, I have not talked about my own cancer very much. I am one of the over 700,000 Americans currently living with, or in remission from, the different types of lymphoma. I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2002 at the age of 34. I was older than the average Hodgkins patient. Many of the other patients I met were teenagers. A few times, a nurse or technician looked around the waiting room assuming I was the mother of the patient, rather than being the patient. As the mother of two young girls at the time, my heart went out to the moms and dads sitting in the waiting rooms with their children. I’m sure they would have traded places with their child any day.
Thankfully, there was an effective treatment regimen of chemotherapy and radiation when I was diagnosed. The treatments were awful, but effective. I quickly went into remission and have been cancer free since 2002. In the last decade, research has shown that less harsh regimens are as effective, so people diagnosed today have an even better prognosis than I did.
Please, be aware of the symptoms of lymphoma (swollen lymph nodes, unexplained fever, weight loss, night sweats, lack of energy, itchy skin) and take them seriously. Early detection is key in successfully treating cancer of all types.