Christina’s Journey: Phase 2

During this point in my treatment I was getting the roadmap to recovery laid for my family and me. One of the first statements made from the nurse was, “this will not be an easy road, but continue to remain positive and you will be just fine.” I kept those words close to me as well as God’s Promiseso I would not lose faith and fall into a depression.

The plan was to have six rounds of chemotherapy, which began on December 31, 2014; from that point on I had chemotherapy every two weeks.  On May 29, 2014, I was able to “ring the bell” and sign my name and experience at the hospital for patients to reference.  I was declared cancer free on June 17, 2014 and I returned to my career on June 23, 2014 with restrictions on hours which was hard to abide by.  Anyone who knows me knows I am a workaholic and a perfectionist. Going back to work during that period made me feel as if I had a tangible purpose. At that time I had 40 employees who needed me for guidance and development and I was still striving for career advancement as well, but God had other plans for me.  In August of 2014, I began to have symptoms of what I had previously had before being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  A year ago around this same time the cancer relapsed and I had a reoccurrence.  Only 20% of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients relapse after the traditional treatment of ABVD and of course I snuggled quite nicely into that statistic.  Let’s keep this into perspective; being a young trailblazer and visionary it was harder to take the news the second time around.  I had thought my life was over, but not think holistically at the picture that God had something more spectacular and that He knew I could handle the job well.

My Oncologist wanted a second opinion who specialized in the particular blood cancer that I had and I really appreciated him for not allowing his pride as a physician to get in the way for my treatment plan.  When I met my new “team” of health professionals I knew then that I was not going to die and I was placed on a well structured plan to prevent complications.  I am now the “guinea pig.” I had two rounds of a treatment, ICE, that literally kicked my butt and I lost my hair so quickly versus the first go round. The second stage to the new treatment plan was to check fertility and get me approved to have an autologous stem cell implant.  The hardest to deal with is the possibility of not being able to carry my own children naturally due to all of the chemotherapy, but that will be discussed in the next phase of the process.

I want to continue with Kermilya and my story of chronic illness, because I know there are people out there looking for directions, answers, resources, and etc.  We are both here for all of you so please respond and like our blog. This project means the world to us and more is coming.  Thank you!!!!

Kermilya’s Journey: Acceptance

In August of 2012, my husband and I decided that we were ready to start a family. We had just purchased our first home, plus we’d been together 7 years and married for 2 years at the time, and we were ready! Shortly after getting off birth control I noticed that my body was changing and I didn’t feel like myself. The first major change I noticed was my menstrual cycles were starting to come further and further apart. I was experiencing fatigue, acne, strong sugar cravings, bloated stomach, brain fog, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), and weight gain. I initially thought my thyroid medication needed to be adjusted, as I had been living with and being treated for hypothyroidism since 2009. I started looking up my symptoms and I had a gut feeling that I may have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, but I chose to turn a blind eye. I was upset and angry with my body. I fell into depression about it by the end of the year, I felt so hopeless.

In 2013, I was blessed with a promotion on my job and my husband had recently found a new job he loved too. However, everything was being overshadowed by this burden I was carrying. I decided in May of 2013 that enough was enough and I needed to get checked out. At this point I had not had a menstrual cycle in over 5 months. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at that appointment. I was given progesterone to trigger my menstrual cycle to come back, and I was given Metformin to help manage my symptoms. Despite being on Metformin, I still felt horrible. I spent a lot of time and resources that year seeing specialists to figure out how to deal with my diagnosis with PCOS.

Overtime, my work became my escape from my reality. This went on for months. I was so scared that I was going to be in this place forever. I was very frightened that I was never going to be able to have children, because of PCOS. I was in a place of despair. Besides my husband and few close friends and family, I dealt with my diagnosis in silence. I felt so alone. I felt ashamed. I felt I had no support from my medical providers and everyone around me had no clue what PCOS even was. I was not sure what that outcome was going to be, and that crushed my spirit.

It wasn’t until December that my life changed forever. December of 2013 Christina gathered myself and all our line sisters together to let us know about her diagnosis with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer. It was such a hard blow to all of us. The one thing I’ll never forget was Christina’s positive spirit, and her will to LIVE and beat this giant she was facing! She said something that night that changed my entire perspective on life and living with my disease. She said something to the effect of, “This battle I’m fighting isn’t for me, it is for someone else. I’m just the vessel.” Her words replayed over and over again in my mind for days, and that’s when I decided I wanted to LIVE too! I was finally moving towards a place of acceptance.