Today is World Lymphoma Awareness Day.
Exactly one year ago, this day meant nothing to me. Actually, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what lymphoma was. It didn’t matter anyway, I was too young and healthy to get cancer.
I exercised regularly and ate good. Seriously, I was the weird person at work who always brought something for lunch that nobody could pronounce. My coworkers would (lovingly) tease me about what I was eating that day because it was always something eccentric, but always healthy. I joined a running club and would workout with one of my coworkers after work. I’m telling you this because I think there is such a big misconception between cancer and a person’s lifestyle. Of course, some people do things that knowingly increase their chances of getting cancer, but I’m asking you to never judge. There are people out there right now battling lung cancer who have never smoked a day in their life. Cancer isn’t fair and it doesn’t discriminate.
I learned a scary statistic recently. 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime. 1 in 2. That is a LOT of people. One day, I hope that there will be a cure for cancer and I hope that day comes very, very soon. Even better, I hope that one day we can prevent cancer altogether. Nobody should have to go through this, but until that day comes we all need to be aware of what’s happening in our bodies.
Many of you heard my story about being misdiagnosed for months. For a while, I had a lot of anger towards this doctor. If he pushed to have more tests done, not only would I be finished with treatment by now, but the chemo regiment also would’ve been less intense. Now that I’ve had time to let it sink in, I realize it’s not fair to blame him. I know my body better than anyone else and I knew something wasn’t right. Eventually I did push to get more tests done, but I should’ve done so right away and that’s my purpose for writing this.
If you know something is wrong, please go get it checked. If you don’t get the answers you want, get a second, third and even a fourth opinion if that’s what it takes. It will be inconvenient and medical bills can add up, trust me I know, but it will be worth it.
All I ask is that you be your own best advocate and always be aware of your body. You know it better than anyone. Also, make sure your loved ones do the same. This is going to sound dramatic, but it’s true- It could easily save your life.