End of summer
On July 29th, 2018, summer officially ended. That was the day the doctors discovered a large mass inside of Candi’s chest. It was the size of a newborn baby's head and was located mediastinum (center chest). This caused fluid build up around her heart and was causing severe chest pains and making it hard to breathe. Emergency surgery was mandatory to drain the fluid and take a biopsy of the mass. One week later, we were told that she had Large B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. All the plans we had made for a fun filled summer no longer mattered. Life as we knew it no longer existed. We were in for the fight for her life and nothing that we had ever faced prior to this monster could compare or prepare us for what was ahead. Candi has faced more trials than any one person should.
Candi is 38 years old, a blood cancer survivor who was born with cerebral palsy. She has faced the many challenges and surgeries in her lifetime with courage and strength. When she was two years old, they told us she would never walk, talk, or do anything a “normal” kid would do. She proved them all wrong. She not only walks, she runs. And does she talk? Only about anything and everything, and to anyone that will listen. She went so far as to teach herself how to ride a two wheel bicycle without training wheels. You might say the words “I can’t” are just not part of her vocabulary. So when we were told that she had cancer, we circled the wagons, called in backup, and asked God to take total control. It was time to walk the walk of faith and not just talk the talk.
The battle was hard. As we watched her step up for each of her six cycles of chemo, we were amazed at the strength she posesses. Each cycle would make her sick and each one would push her to her own limits. But she knew that each cycle would kill this monster and she knew that was the goal, and nothing short of cancer free would be acceptable. ”I can’t” never crossed her lips and on December 28th, 2018, we were given the answer we fought so hard to hear: “Candi, your cancer is dead dead.” The battle is won and the victory is hers. “But God,” hold the Line.
On June 1st, 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkin's follicular lymphoma. Thanks to Dr. Henry Li and the wonderful staff at Polyclinic Madison, I was able to get through and manage chemotherapy. My last infusion was on March 1st, 2018 and I was officially declared in remission on March 12th, 2018, which was the best news anyone can receive.
The most difficult part, aside from all the days during chemo when I just felt sick and poor, was the day that I found out that I have cancer. All the fearful thoughts that invade your mind and the fear of the unknown are difficult to overcome, but then you plant your feet and get ready to fight cancer.
I was lucky to discover the cancer early due to a fluke MRI for a torn rotator cuff tendon, which allowed me to receive the minimal chemo dosage, but not everyone is so lucky. A recent CT scan revealed that there is no new disease and I am still in remission. Now I am here to help fight for others battling cancer.