"Life's short. You never know when something crazy or bad is going to happen. You have to live day by day and just enjoy life to the fullest!"
Alexa is 27 years old, living in Idaho Falls, ID. She was diagnosed with Stage 3, Hodgkin's Lymphoma on June 1, 2015. Alexa has just completed treatment 10 of 12 and I, with great pleasure, am able to say that in August, she was declared cancer free!
To Alexa: You are setting such an amazing example for your little boy and have such a humbe spirit. I appreciate the smile that you always have on your face despite the struggles that you have and are facing. It is very clear what an amazing impact your son has had on your recovery and the tremendous support system that your fiancé has been. Congratulatons on beating cancer's butt! ♥
Interview Date: 11/1/15
How were you diagnosed?
I went into the ER on May 30th; I thought maybe I had a sinus infection or cold. I was sick on and off since November and just couldn't get rid of the cold. I had swollen lymph nodes on the right side of my body, two on my lower pelvis and some by my collar bone. I even had one swollen on the lower back of my head near my neck. When I got to the ER they did an X-ray and saw shadows, I ended up getting blood work done and a CT scan as well. That's when they saw that I was very anemic; my red blood cells were all the way down to a 5. They got the CT back and all my lymph nodes in my body were swollen, they had me stay in the hospital to run a bone marrow test and they removed 2 lymph nodes from my pelvic area, on June 1st they confirmed I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
What were your initial thoughts and reaction when you were diagnosed?
I was heartbroken. I was about to turn 27 and I have a 2 year old; having cancer was the last thing I would imagine having! I just lost my grandma to lung cancer 5 years ago and my brother had adult leukemia when he was 11, he is now 13 years into remission. Hearing I had cancer was such a shock but knowing my brother kicked its butt made me confident and helped me keep my head up the whole time.
Is there a family history of cancer?
After being diagnosed, how have you changed your perspective on life?
Life's short. You never know when something crazy or bad is going to happen. You have to live day by day and just enjoy life to the fullest!
What gives you strength and motivation?
My 2 year old boy! That kid makes cancer not so bad! He tells me I'm pretty without my scarf on and he actually helped me shave all my hair off, he truly is my rock in all of this. I can wake up having a bad day and all he has to do is smile, kiss me, and tell me he loves me and my attitude and day instantly get better!
Who is your support system and how have they supported you?
Oh man! I have the best support system out there! My boyfriend of 11 years, and of course my little boy! And then there is both of our families and all of my friends, I have such amazing friends. When I got sick, I had so many people just writing me and saying they were praying for me and stuff. It's such a good and nice feeling to know I have so many people out there supporting me.
What is your treatment process and what is your perspective on it?
I get chemo every other week and it kicks my butt! I was doing pretty good until I hit the half way mark and now when I get chemo it just drains me and I'm so sick from it. But the nurses are so sweet and kind and make sure you are as comfortable as can be!
What words do you have for ones afraid to get checked?
Don't be afraid! The sooner the better! I shouldn't have waited as long as I did! It just gets worse and worse the longer you wait. I wish I went sooner, like right when I noticed my lymph nodes were swollen. You just have to keep a positive mind. I tell myself daily that it could be worse, I'm lucky that it's not, and that I'll get through it.
What advice or message can you provide to those who have been diagnosed?
You're not alone! We are a cancer family and just know that there are others going through the same thing.