30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2020
It was March 18th, 2012 when I woke up and did not realize that my world was about to be turned upside down. I was about to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. All I can remember is how miserable my body felt. So miserable that I was rushed to the emergency room at St. Luke’s Hospital. At around 8 o'clock at night, doctors began taking several blood and urine tests. The only result they came up with was that I was pregnant and was having a miscarriage. My mother and I knew that my pain being due to a miscarriage was 110% impossible. She demanded a sonogram, and while we waited, my father started searching the internet for "what would cause a pregnancy test to come out positive if you are not pregnant.” He found a long word, showed it to the doctor and the doctor then replied, "You don't want her to have that, you want her to be pregnant and losing the baby."
The sonogram technician arrived minutes later, and then we proceeded with the examination. I waited nearly five hours to get the results of the sonogram, and when the results came back it was exactly what my father had shown them. The long word was a type of cancer, and I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on my right ovary. I was told that I needed to get operated on immediately to remove the ovary. I can still remember that my father could not be there while I was in the process of getting operated on because he had to work. But he did tell me this while he was trying to stay strong, but unable to hold back his tears: “Everything is a climb princess. I love you." He was quoting the song, "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus; and it was a coincidence that the same song came on in the waiting room radio right before I went into the operating room.
After the surgery, I received chemotherapy treatment in the Lehigh Valley Hospital Muhlenberg, to make sure of elimination of all cancer cells around my body. The battle against cancer began. The treatment was hard, difficult, and distressing. Only a few months later, I got lightheaded going up the stairs to my room, I threw myself onto my bed and, with the last breath of air, I yelled to my mom for help. I was told, by my mother that I was unconscious when she went to my room, and she found me face down on the bed with my head completely purple because of the lack of oxygen. This was because I had a blood clot, stopping the blood flow and oxygen to my head, due to my port. It required emergency transportation to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to have my port removed and the blood clot treated with IV blood thinners.
The effects of the treatment ultimately changed my life. I was considered a warrior and hero to all the younger children I met during my treatment. One of the mothers of another child involved with PCFLV called me the one that “Her external appearance may have changed, but inside, she is still noble and courageous. Her hope and her faith remain unalterable” That’s why I kept fighting. Because of them is why I stayed strong.
Now, I am in cured. With the support I received from friends, family, and PCFLV, I was able to open up and accept that my diagnosis is a part of me that I have been able to mold into my life to help me succeed - including being able to graduate college with the help of PCFLV, who provided me with a scholarship and allowed me to complete an externship to complete my Bachelors in Public Health. PCFLV is determined to help children with cancer not only understand their diagnosis, but also help them be “normal” kids. I have learned that everything in life happens unexpectedly; in life, when you have things that bring you down, you have to get back up because life will go on. You just fight and most importantly of all, you never give up.
Written by Luanmarie