Floral Romper and when life gets real

Magenta Black Floral Romper

CancerScarfTurban

Floral Romper Magenta Turban

Floral Tan Leather Belt

Floral Romper with Magenta TurbanRomper: ASOS (old) – similar budget , splurge, love this one; Belt: LOFT – similar here or here (on sale!); Sandals: old – similar; Bracelet: Henri Bendel – similar here; Sunglasses: Maui Jim – similar here or budget

This romper is super comfortable, perfect for summer, and I’ve been wearing it on repeat. I picked it up last fall on sale and it was a great purchase. One of the reasons it has been on repeat is because I have a matching head wrap. See the turban, that is where life gets real. On February 1st, after my first day at my new job, I was diagnosed with Lymphoma (anaplastic large cell alk negative; one of the rarer types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).

In October 2015 I discovered a small, swollen lymph node in my groin area. It was 1.5 cm then. After no change, in December I had an ultrasound to confirm it was in fact a lymph node. I met with a surgeon who was relatively sure it was nothing and I should give it some time. It was small, hadn’t grown much, and didn’t have any characteristics of a cancerous growth. I also didn’t have any symptoms. I wanted to be sure and the only way to know was to biopsy it. So, at the end of January, I had that one lymph node removed. A few days later, I found out I had cancer. After a slew of tests, I was lucky to find out I was stage 1A; the cancer was localized to the one lymph node we removed and I had no symptoms. But, because it is a blood cancer, chemo was a must.

So, after all of my preliminary tests, a few surgeries, and one month at my new job, I took a medical leave and started chemo. I was on CHOEP therapy. I had 6, three-week cycles (three days of outpatient treatment, followed by two and a half weeks of rest). Chemo definitely hit me harder than I expected, but I was lucky. Staying home from work allowed me to focus on one thing, staying as healthy as possible. When I was immunocompromised I was able to avoid public transportation, elevators in office buildings, and just generally being in crowded public places. I was able to stay home and cook healthy meals. I did light yoga and took walks with my husband (he was seriously my rock). I painted and made jewelry when I had the energy. For the first time in my life, I was forced to  slow down. I learned a little self-love and a lot of support from my loved ones goes a long way.

So, here we are, 6 months later. With the support of my amazing care team, family, and friends, I am cancer free! WOOHOO! A huge thank you to everyone who sent a little love my way, said a little prayer, brought me nourishing food, and was just plain there when my hubby and I needed you. I am back to work. My hair is growing back little by little every day. Every day it becomes easier to talk about this journey. I’ll have scans, blood work and follow up visits for years to come, but for now, we’re figuring out how to get back to life after cancer.

I don’t want this blog to become one focused on my battle with cancer. Its my creative outlet, and now part of my way to move forward. I want it to still be my happy place. But, this battle with cancer is a part of my story…a big part. It has reinforced my priorities and helped me focus on the present. It has made me realize the inner strength that so many people have, but don’t recognize until they are tested. It has made me value relationships and experiences over things even more than ever before. It has made me believe in being your own advocate when it comes to your health and doing what you need to do to get answers. I’d be happy to talk more with anyone who has questions, or who has been through it, or who is going through it. Support goes a long way, but talking about it can also be the hardest part.

So, this post is one of my first in moving forward, happy and healthy 🙂

Thanks for reading!
Tiffany