30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2023
My name is Brooke, and I am currently battling Metastatic Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Unfortunately, this is not where my story begins.
My story begins back on May 26, 2020, the day my life changed forever. On that day, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was faced with the words “you have cancer.” Immediately your brain is filled with a million thoughts. “What’s going to happen?” “How do we fix this?” “Am I going to die at just 21 years old?” The doctors had a plan already and comforted us by saying that it should be a treatable disease…a hard tough treatment plan but could be treated. Things moved incredibly fast and within the same week as diagnosis, I already had a biopsy scheduled and began chemo immediately after.
At 21 years old, your adult life is really just taking off. I was a college student at Penn State with just one semester left to go. I should have been doing what most college kids do instead of spending my days at clinic and the hospital. I was currently on track to graduate a semester early and I was determined to still do so. Everyone encouraged me to take the semester off, but I refused to let cancer ruin all of my hard work. I continued to do my semester as planned and all of my treatments. After many rounds of chemo, months of radiation, and a full semester of college courses, I could proudly say I graduated college early and beat cancer!
After about two years of being in remission, I found myself back in the ER, and possibly facing horrible news. On December 3, 2022, my life was crushed once again when I heard the words “you have cancer,” again. No one should have to be told that once, let alone twice. I had a mass on my hip that was over 16 centimeters, and it was indeed cancerous. I was then diagnosed with Metastatic Ewing Sarcoma and told that it had also spread outside of just my hip. The doctors began to explain the only option was chemo and radiation because the mass was too big for surgery. I was given crutches, a walker, and a wheelchair because walking on it was too dangerous. At just 23 years old, being told I can’t drive, can’t walk, or do things on my own was hard. Also hearing that I may never walk again normally or without any aids was absolutely terrifying. Once again, I refused to let cancer control my life. So me and my crutches did everything together. And after seven months, I was able to finally ditch the crutches and walk on my own.
Despite having cancer a second time, I refused to let it define me or hold me back. Of course, there are things you can’t do and bad days when you can’t leave your bed. But on my good days, I try to get out and do little things and try to live as normal as possible for having cancer. The thing I strive for most is making the most out of every good day. Cancer has taught me how short life really is and how fast things can change. It has given me a new outlook on life and the knowledge of how important it is to live life to the fullest.
Currently, I am still in treatment. I have received chemo since December 2022 and completed months of radiation this summer. I still have quite a few chemo treatments left. Although this battle with cancer is 10 times tougher than my first, I can’t wait for the day I can officially say I beat cancer once again!
Written by Brooke
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip