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Crystal’s Story (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Schwannoma, Thyroid Cancer)

Crystal's Story (Cancer) Hello, my name is Crystal. I am a three time cancer survivor. I had Hodgkin’s disease at age 14, schwannoma at 18, and thyroid cancer at 26. I had the treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, and bone marrow. I have had my spleen removed, and a lump removed from my neck. This caused me to stay in the hospital for three to four weeks. I lost my hair, went from 117 lbs to 75 lbs, lost the enamel off my teeth, and I fainted all the time. It took me a long time to get back to my normal life.

After 4 years I was diagnosed with schwannoma (cancer of the lining of the nerve). I went for a checkup, and they found it under my right arm. I went in for a biopsy, but had to wait for my slides to come back from Boston. It took three weeks to get a diagnoses and it came back cancerous. The doctors wanted me to do chemotherapy and radiation again. However, I was 18 and graduating, so I completely refused all treatment. My doctor’s were speechless. They gave me 50/50 chance to live or die. I still refused, it wasn’t good enough. I packed my bags and I left the hospital. I vowed that I was going to get through this with or without them.

I proved them wrong! It has been 26 years since that second cancer, I’m still here. I was told at 14 that due to the treatments and dosage of my radiation I would never be able to have children. I’m very proud to say that at age 26 I had a son, a very healthy baby boy. However, when I went to take my son home from the hospital, my doctor ordered an ultrasound on my neck. They found I had a lump, so I had to go back in the hospital five weeks later to have surgery, only to find out that I had thyroid cancer. They took out my entire thyroid.

My son is now 18 years old, graduating high school, and is so healthy. He is planning on going to medical school to specialize in oncology. I am so proud of him and myself. I am actually here to see the day I’ve always wanted to see. I’ve been healthy ever since. I’m married, and living a great life, one that I thought would never exist. I am writing a book called “Cancer is not an Illness, Its a Blessing!” The meaning behind the title is that when you are diagnosed with cancer, it changes you, you become stronger, and you become a fighter. This is how I got through my illnesses. The book is a support book for cancer patients and their families. It’s not on the shelves yet, but will be soon. I hope all of you get a chance to read it. It’s about my life with cancer, it’s so inspirational, and a voice for those who cannot speak anymore. God Bless!

Submitted 6-9-2012

The informational content of this article 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.

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. tiffanie

    Love it!!!

  2. Veronica Taylor

    Wow what a great story! God brought you to this world with a mighty purpose. I know you book will be much help for others. God bless you.

  3. Savannah Anderson

    Hi crystal, my name is Savannah. I read your story because my mom also had schwannoma. As I was reading it, It felt like my mom was telling me this. My mom was diagnosed with pre-cervical cancer at 16. Then at 18 she was diagnosed with schwannoma. The doctors wanted her to go to Boston to get treatment but she refused to do any of it just like you did. She packed her bags and left the hospital too. They told her that she had a 50/50 chance of living. The doctors told her that she would not be able to have children, but she had me (15) and my brother (16) Then at age 29 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She refused the chemo and radiation but she did have surgery to remove it. After the surgery the doctors told her that there was a good possibility that it would effect her colon, and it did. She was supposed to get checkups and tests done for it every six months but she hasn’t in years. This year she was diagnosed with pheochromocytoma cancer, now she is having a hard time finding a doctor that knows about it, it is rare like schwannoma. We both cannot wait to read your book!! It would be so nice if you two would be in contact with each other, since you have lived similar lives. You can always reach me or her (Valerie) at my email . We would both love to hear from you. Your story is truly amazing.

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