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Alicia’s Story (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Breast Cancer)

I’m an engineer by education, so sometimes I think it’s easier to explain my cancer experience by the numbers:

I’ve had Hodgkin’s disease once, Breast Cancer twice. I was a 20 year old college sophomore, fighting my way through cancer for the 1st time. To diagnose the Hodgkin’s, I had every major organ in my abdominal region biopsied, a section of my hip removed, my spleen removed, and for good measure, I let the doctors take out my appendix too. To treat the Hodgkin’s, I had 18 weeks of radiation and 9 rounds of chemo therapy. My chemo regime had 4 drugs. I still have 21 little blue radiation tattoos used to mark the radiation field on my body. I lost all my hair and lost a ton of weight. It took close to 3 years to battle through the Hodgkin’s.

At the age of 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. I had one lumpectomy and 5 intense days of Mammosite Radiation. For two years, I dealt with horrific side effects from “the anticancer drug” Tamoxifen – dry eyes, night sweats, bone pain, weight gain, migraines, insomnia, fevers… Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease. Last November, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time and I opted for major surgery – a double mastectomy. I had my thyroid removed during that surgery too. In total, I had 3 separate courses of radiation, 1 course of chemo, 8 major surgeries, and 1 bone marrow biopsy. Whew…

I’m walking proof that super glue and duct tape works wonders. But in case you want to know… I can still hit a golf ball 250 yards on a good day… bad day, maybe 235.

Submitted 6-2-10

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. Diane Wasylkiw

    Hi Alicia,
    I just want to say that I’m truly moved by your story. Although its just a short story that briefly covers the past 15 to 20 years of your rollercoaster life. My grandma had breast cancer and my grandpa had Hodgkins Lymphoma. Luckily, just like you, they both survived. It is just really inspiring knowing that even though it may be a bit more difficult and different, you can still continue to live your life. My grandparents have been the same way and haven’t let their cancer stop them from doing the things they love. Thank you for sharing your story on this website, and please know that it is honestly inspiring to read your story and know that even after having cancer 3 times, awful treatments, and horrible side affects, you still continue to live your life. Thank you.

  2. Tracey

    Thanks for your story. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer this past fall, and prior to starting my chemo the CT scan showed a mass near my spleen. Biopsy showed its Hodgkins Lymphona (recurrent). I had Lymphona 15 years ago when I was 30. I have no idea how they are going to treat 2 different cancers at the same time, but I’m in prayer. My appt is Tuesday to obtain my staging and treatment plan. My Breast Cancer was stage 1, and I had a double mass with reconstruction. Im getting services at Georgetown Univ Hosp- Lombardi Cancer Center. Your story gave me hope

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