by Jean LaMantia, Living with Cancer
When I was 27 years old something happened to me that changed my life. At the time, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under me and I wasn’t sure I would survive it. Now, looking back, I can appreciate the experience for the gift that it has given me.
When I was 27 years old, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a cancer that originates in the white blood cells (lymphocytes) and spreads to the lymph nodes. I had masses in my neck, under my arms, and a 15 cm tumour in my chest. By the time I reached the cancer centre, after all the preliminary staging tests, my lungs were so full of lymphatic fluid, I felt like I was drowning in my own body. Following my diagnosis I endured 6 and a half months of chemotherapy and a month of daily radiation. One of the biggest turning points in my relationship with my cancer came after my last radiation treatment.