As a two time cancer survivor, I am so excited to be participating in this year's Relay for Life. I am always proud to say I am a cancer survivor. It is because of wonderful organizations like this that I can say I survived. Because of the money raised more people can say they beat this horrible disease.
I was diagnosed 18 years ago for the first time with Hodgkins Disease Lymphoma. After several trips and long stays at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis I was told, “You are in remission.” At age 11 you don't really realize how much that statement means.
I went on to live my childhood like most other children, except for checkups and frequent sicknesses because of my poor immune system. I graduated high school and was attending college when I was diagnosed with my second cancer. I was 19 years old when I was diagnosed with Follicular Thyroid Carcinoma. This cancer was caused by the radiation to my neck and chest to treat my Lymphoma. I was treated again at St. Jude.
After surgically removing my thyroid and receiving radioactive iodine, I was in remission again. As a child and young adult I didn't realize how important it was to say, "I am a cancer survivor." All I thought about was my hair falling out, the scars on my body and how my life was being inconvenienced.
As an adult I realize and understand how meaningful it is to call myself a cancer survivor. I am so thankful to God for giving us the knowledge to learn how to treat this horrible disease. I am also thankful for my family who went through both cancers with me.
I will be getting married next week and am thankful to be alive and living my life like everyone else. I am a nurse because of the people I encountered through treatment. I am always happy to tell my survivor story. I am able to tell my story because of organizations like the American Cancer Society. Please come out April 19th and join us in raising money for such a great cause so others can beat this disease like me.