The big C

What the h#ll is Hodgkins lymphoma?! I had no clue and I don’t know that I still fully understand it! I was 26 years old living my life telling my friends “2017 this is my year!” I was clearly wrong on that one! My symptoms start October of 2016, it felt like there was something stuck at the very bottom of my throat. I thought I just had a cold or if something was “stuck” it would pass, well that wasn’t the case (clearly). I let it go until January when it REALLY started to bother me to the point I was actually getting nervous. I was a very healthy person, never really went to the doctor unless it was for check up’s with previous health issues I have. Why would I need to worry about this feeling in my throat?? As you read in my introduction I was misdiagnosed by the first doctor (I promise you your gut is ALWAYS right!!!) I knew it wasn’t acid reflux, and my gut was going crazy and my throat was getting worse. When I tell people this was my only symptom I think their jaw drops EVERY time! Yes I am in just as much shock as you are people haha. To officially determine this was in fact cancer (minus the PET scan) I had to get a biopsy done, that was THE worst thing I had to do during this whole thing. My biopsy was in my neck, they had to use an ultrasound machine to look for the tumor and take 8 tiny pieces out so that it was enough to determine my cancer. I was originally told I would be sedated for this (easy peasy) well to my very big surprise I walked in the room and saw all the tools that would be used and no sign of sedation. Long story short a sheet was put over my face and an incision was made for a large needle to be placed and ready to take some pieces of my tumor. (enter the throwing up emoji) I had to ask them to stop halfway through because I was going to pass out, I was given a wash cloth and my feet were place upward. They said if they don’t get the rest of these pieces this will be for nothing. Anyone that knows me knows that I could pass out just getting my blood taken so you can imagine what I was feeling staring at this ceiling half blinded by a sheet. So I said fine “if you could just be quick and stop telling me what your doing I will power through this!” (hahaha) to this day my parents can’t believe I did that, but I had to have answers wouldn’t you? Of course this biopsy landed on a Friday so I had to wait until Monday morning for my results. No I didn’t sleep that weekend and yes I sat by my phone the second my phone hit 8 am. That phone call on February 15th would be the call to change the rest of my life.

From there it was 0-100 real quick (yes I just took that from a song) I met with my oncologist and she is amazing, I wouldn’t have gotten through this without her amazing knowledge and truly caring whats best for me. She is so soft spoken and calm that it didn’t sound soooo bad (yes it was bad) I was told if I didn’t find this when I did that my tumor intertwined with some of my main arteries I would have stroked out in approximately 2 weeks. Yes I almost fell on the floor but yet didn’t believe it at the same time. It’s still hard for me to say that outloud, I clearly have a guardian angel and I am meant to be on this earth for a purpose! I am the oldest of 7 younger siblings and I was not about to leave them now, but in the next few months I also was healthy afraid to make them afraid of me, my looks, the hospital etc. I was more focused on my siblings that it became a distraction. The next week turned into meeting with a fertility doctor and having to give myself shots for a week, 2 shots 2 times a day (again I am so not about needles) I cried almost everyday between the hormones and steroids I was on. I only had 1 week to get my eggs ready verses about 3 for the average woman. I was a mess an absolute psychopath, I almost gave up! I harvested my eggs the day of my very first chemo. Let’s backtrack a bit fertility??? Yes as a single 26 year old my oncologist would not start chemo until I did so. Boy did I not picture myself having to turn to fertility back when I planned out my future (no you cannot plan out your future let alone the next day I promise you). I was also not educated on the fertility category my heart breaks for women who have to go through it, in fact my heart shattered when my insurance company informed me they don’t cover fertility because it’s considered “an option”. Excuse me what?! (enter in many swear words and the red face emoji) This ma’am is not an “option” for me Im not choosing to go through this all! I cried for hours the cost to harvest your eggs is in the thousands, that just the surgery the shots are a whole different thousands. Many of you that know me know that I refuse to ask for help or money, what in the h#ll was I going to do with one week left before I started chemo?! My sister thankfully took matters into her own hands and made a caring bridge that covered everything!!!!! I was in so much shock I couldn’t see straight, again someone is watching out for me. I am SO grateful for each and everyone who helped make that happen, having children is so important to me and I didn’t expect a road bump like this. THIS ladies is something I had NO clue about when being diagnosed with cancer. Well this is why I am here to tell you and be here for YOU.

There is much more on The C word, so for now here is part 1.

XoXo, Brittney


**The photo below is the tattoo I chose to get right after finding out I got cancer, This is the cancer astrology sign on my middle finger. If your clever like me you’ll know why it’s on the middle finger 😉