National Cancer Survivors Day

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Lymphoma Survivor Stories

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Sean Swarner: Defying the Odds

by Kaylene Chadwell

Completing the Explorers Grand Slam, which includes climbing the highest mountain on every continent and trekking to the North and South Poles, would be an impressive feat for anyone to accomplish. But for someone like Sean Swarner – a two-time cancer survivor with only one functioning lung, who was twice told he had only weeks to live, and who once spent almost an entire year in a medically induced coma – you’d think that achievement would be all but impossible. That is, if you didn’t know Sean. His whole life has been about defying the odds.

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Curly Hair

by Diane Tefft Young, MA, LICDC-CS

In late January 2015, I was di­agnosed with uterine cancer – stage IIIC. My oncologist recommended a “sandwich” treatment plan. I would receive three 6-hour chemo infusions three weeks apart, followed by 28 daily radiation sessions. Treatment would end with two addi­tional 6-hour chemo infusions four weeks apart. As I was trying to take this all in, I posed a question: when will I lose my hair? The response was that my chin-length, fine gray hair would be completely gone following the second chemo infusion.

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Learning to Love My Body
and Live Out Loud

by Morgan Thompson

Scared. Confused. Hurt. Ashamed. When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at just 26 years old, I was overwhelmed with so many different emotions, but the feel­ing of shame kept washing over me. I naively believed that cancer was something that happened to “other” people. It had never touched my life in a personal way, and I assumed that if I did the right things (exercise and eat a healthy diet) — it never would.

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Determined to Live

by Virginia Repsys

I was 27 years old when I was diag­nosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. I had known something was wrong. But I never imagined it’d be cancer. I guess none of us do. I was devastated, but I tried to remain hopeful. When I researched my disease online, I found out that my type and stage of cancer had a 90-percent five-year survival rate. But even that didn’t quell the fear I felt inside.

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My Raven Moccasins

by Barbara Center

I’d forgotten about my raven-black moccasins, still safe in their box on the top shelf of my bedroom closet. I’d for­gotten about their rubber nonslip soles, the white and gold beads that gently adorn their black leather tops, and the trim – four inches of soft black fur – that hugged my ankles and lower calves.

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Against All Odds

by Stacey Polak

In 1998, I received chemotherapy while I was preg­nant. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the end of my first trimester, the prognosis wasn’t great, and the unknowns were terrifying. I was sick from both the pregnancy and the chemo. Weak and exhausted, I rarely left the house. The odds weren’t in my favor, yet by my third cycle of chemo, my tumor was shrinking.

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Take Control of Your Journey

by Lynda Peterson

What do you do when you’re given a cancer diagnosis? After you get over the shock and the air returns to your lungs, after your soul returns to your body and you no longer feel as if you’re floating above watching the scene un­fold beneath you, do you feel sad? Yes. Scared? Yes. Confused and paranoid? Yes. Do you feel sorry for yourself? Yes. At least for about three sec­onds. Then you have a choice: put your head in the sand and wait to die, or hold your head up high, sum­mon the courage that is deep in your soul, and show yourself and the world just what you’re made of. You get on with the business of healing.

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Cancer

by Shay M. White

Cancer makes you love more.

Cancer makes you think more.

Cancer makes you depend on God more.

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