On the 23rd of March 2012, a few days before my 25th birthday, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. I was shocked, yes, because cancer happens to other people, it shouldn’t happen to me. Soon I accepted the diagnosis and decided that this disease will not win the fight.
After numerous tests, I received the news about the treatment regime on my 25th birthday. “What a gift,” I thought sarcastically. Thinking back now, it was indeed a great gift. Because of the bad ride, I learned the importance of life and how I should live it.
The treatment was very aggressive, and I received chemotherapy every week intravenously, as well as, through the lumbar puncture to prevent the cancer from spreading to my brain. I was told that if I am lucky enough to survive the treatment, I would never be able to have children. After only 4 weeks, I weighed only 77 pounds/35 kg and my body couldn’t take one more drop of chemotherapy. As a result of the treatment regime, I was rushed to the operating room with a tear in my colon. Statistically speaking, I had a 20% chance of surviving the surgery.
After a few hours of surgery, doctors were not positive. I was too weak to complete the treatment, but they also told me that if I stopped the treatment, the cancer might spread. For the first time since the diagnosis, I got scared. I remembered thinking that this can’t possibly be all there is to life, and I started to fight with newly found energy. I had to learn to eat and walk all over again. After a few weeks, to my relief, the doctors decided to skip the second phase of the regimen and to only continue with oral chemotherapy tablets for 18 months. I had great support from my friends, family, and colleagues and also had an excellent medical team.
It has been almost 5 years since the diagnosis. I am healthier than I ever was before. There is no sign of cancer in my body. And, best of all, I am happily married to the love of my life who was there for me throughout the treatment, and now we have 2 beautiful miracle babies, which we never thought we’d have. I am truly blessed.
World Cancer Day