Hi! I’m Taylor and I am a 26 year old Stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor. I was diagnosed shortly before my 25th birthday in February of 2019. I had been experiencing a stubborn cough for a few weeks and decided to visit a UCLA walk-in clinic after waking up one morning drenched in sweat. I thought I would be prescribed antibiotics and sent on my way. Boy was I wrong. It was here that they took an X-ray and I heard the word ‘mass’, as it pertained to my body, for the first time. Bloodwork led to a CT, which led to a biopsy, diagnosis, port insertion surgery, and hormone injections for egg preservation.
Over a span of 6 months, I went through 12 treatments of ABVD under the care of Dr. Sven de Vos at UCLA. During these 6 months, I worked to stick with my active lifestyle and scheduled 1:1 Pilates classes on my ‘good days’. The week following each treatment, I dealt with mouth sores, hot flashes, nausea, complete exhaustion, anxiety, hair loss, neutropenia, and so much more.
I am happy to say that I went into remission on June 11, 2019 and finished my last treatment on July 29 a few weeks later. I had mentally prepared as much as possible that the 6 months of treatment would be awful, but what I wasn’t prepared for were the mentally and physically exhaustive side effects during and after treatment. I am still dealing with some of the things that cancer and chemo took from my body, but I am getting closer to a stronger, better version of myself. I am back to a consistent workout schedule, I am fulfilling a career as a luxury Real Estate Agent that I began striving for even before my diagnosis, I got married on August 1, 2020, and we now have a mini goldendoodle puppy to brighten each day. What myself and so many others have gone through is life altering in every sense and I plan to be an advocate for those patients and survivors who are searching for their purpose and strength and fighting to make the most of each day life brings.
If I could go back and tell myself one thing when I was diagnosed, I would recommend getting in touch with a Naturopath and a Nutritionist right away. Find out if there are natural supplements or remedies that can help support you as chemotherapy drugs ravage through your body. Also, ask any and all questions you can possibly think of and if you don’t feel comfortable asking your doctor, find a nurse you trust.
If you are reading this, you are stronger than you think, you are more capable than you feel, and you are a warrior.