Hello everyone, my name is Ana, I am 26 years old and almost 5 months ago the doctors detected I had State II Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
It all started at the end of February, when I decided to go to the doctor because I felt a muscular pain in my neck. When I got there they took the typical tests: analysis, X-Rays, etc. Two hours later they called me to give me my results, and my mom and I thought that they would tell us I had a muscle strain, they would put me a muscle relaxer and send me home. When we entered the consult, the doctor on call told us we had to wait for the haematologist to tell us what I had. It was then when I started to suspect that something wasn't right.
She came in the room, introduced herself and told me: "Ana we have found something wrong in your blood and you are going to have to be admitted to take some more tests". With that said, I imagined what I had. I asked her if I had cancer and she looked me in the eyes and told me: "It is probable that you do". She told me that I had a 50% chance it was cancer and another 50% that it was only a virus. It only took a few seconds for me to feel like I was out of breath, for me to imagine I was going to die, to think about why this happened to me and not someone else... Well, all of the thoughts one feels in a moment like that. My mother was braver than me, she was secure, she cheered me up and told me everything was going to be fine, but I didn't want to stay in the hospital, I wanted to leave. The doctor had a hard time convincing me that I had to stay, but she finally did. In times like these you can't react, you can't think clearly, you can hardly breathe and all you see are your dreams, your goals, your joys disappearing because of an illness.
It was a while until they took me to the first floor, and I couldn't stop crying and hugging my mom. At 2 at night they put me in a room and I couldn't stop thinking: "I have cancer". I spent 5 days in the hospital and they were the worst of my life, the nights were very hard and the days were very long, trying to not think about the test results and in that 50% chance that it was something bad. But the thought was always there and I couldn't ignore it.
They sent me home for the weekend for they had done all of the tests (echography, tac, biopsy, analysis...) and I had to come back on Tuesday for the results. I spent the weekend trying to distract myself from everything that was going on, until the day of the test results finally came. There we were; my parents, my aunt and my best friend in the waiting room. Two minutes later they made me come in and, right there, at the consult, they did a bone marrow biopsy.
When they finished, the doctor spoke with us. The results were clear: State II Hodgkin's Lymphoma and the treatment... chemotherapy.
During the week I had been thinking about how I would react if they told me I had cancer, I thought my whole world would tumble if they confirmed it, but the truth is that it wasn't like that. I asked them for the prognosis and they told me it was good, that the illness wasn't advanced and that with 6 or 8 cycles of chemotherapy it would be enough. The fact of having to assimilate that during 6 months you are going to be throwing up, running fevers, feeling dizzy... and of course that your hair is going to fall out.
I was scared, I didn't know how to confront it, how I could keep a smile in my face every day, but the moment I sat down in the haematology room, with 3 yellow bags of chemotherapy, I knew I had two options; either stay behind with my illness, or keep going forward, being happy and trying to look at the bright side of all of that. Of course, I picked the second option, although most people believe that this disease has no bright side. From that day on I was stronger, braver and I kept thinking I was going to beat the illness. You start to see the small things in life which you didn't value and that now make you very happy. You realize how much people love you, and day by day you see that you have parents that are brave for you, that will be there for whatever you need, who are the best parents in the world, that who used to be you cousins are now "your sisters" and that you have friends who you will feel grateful for all of your life.
Ana and her cousin
I thought that with my illness I wouldn't be able to do things, but as time passed I realized that I was wrong, that you can do whatever you want, and that who can't is because they don't want to.
I thought about making a list of things I would like to do and I titled it "Goals that an illness isn't going to stop me from attaining".
Today, I have attained more than half of my goals, like obtaining the orange belt in karate, reaching the top of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe... and every time I do one of the things in my list I feel better, stronger, happier and more capable of continuing with all of this.
Ana at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
On June 13th they gave me very good news, that my illness was in remission, that I still had "something" but that with the 6 cycles of chemotherapy it would be enough. It was the best news in months; I knew I was going to get better, that I was going to be able to beat all of this. Today I have only 3 chemos left and I am counting the days to finally finish them. The 8th of August is very close and I am going to accomplish it!
Before I thought I had everything, a job, friends, a car... but what I didn't know is that I wasn't valuing something, I was healthy and that is more important than anything else. Right now I know that once I beat this illness I will have everything in life, and the best thing of this hard path is that I have grown as a person and that everything bad happens so that you realize all of the good things in your life.
I would like that everyone could suffer it like me, with no effects derived from the chemo, without their hair falling out, but because I know that the chemo doesn't affect all of us equally, I can only say: KEEP GOING! Be strong for yourselves and for the people that love you, we can beat anything and, specially, SMILE!
Kind regards and thanks for being here!
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