The beginning of my journey with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

It was nothing. I was overreacting, being paranoid, and doing a little too much Google self-diagnosing. But what if? No, it could never happen to me. Plus, I’m so young and have always been healthy. Yeah, I’m definitely overreacting.

I don’t even know how I found it, but in November 2016, I felt a lump just above my left collarbone that would change my life as I knew it.

I didn’t know what to think of it at first, but I didn’t make a big deal about it. Fast forward a month- the lump was still there. At this point, I was a little concerned and I did the only thing I could think of… I went to Google for answers. I knew I shouldn’t have. I mean, you can talk yourself into having ANY disease on the internet. Still, after reading the symptoms and believing that I fit them perfectly, I cried. I called my older sister and told her what was going on, then I cried some more. I got in to see a doctor as soon as I could. The doctor asked me about my symptoms and did a quick ultrasound. He didn’t seem worried at all and just chalked it up to be a swollen lymph node due to a cold. I felt a little silly leaving the office because he made me feel like I was over reacting to a simple cold. 

That Google search really stuck with me for the next few months. I could just tell something wasn’t right, but I kept making excuses for the things that felt “off” to me. For example, I’ve never been the type of person to get sick a lot, but after finding that lump, I felt myself feeling almost constantly ill. I would finally get over one illness and a week later, be back to feeling bad again. I also felt so tired all the time, but I blamed it on my schedule. I wake up at 2:30 AM for work everyday, but the tiredness I was feeling was more than just not getting enough sleep. It was an extreme fatigue. It was hard to get out of my apartment on some days. Then there were nights I found myself having really bad night sweats which, apparently, is a big indicator of lymphoma. Even then, I would blame it on my apartment just being a little too hot that night. I wish I had listened to my body a little more closely.

Back to my story, let’s fast forward two more months- I found another lump near my right collarbone. I happened to be at work when I found it and was seconds away from appearing on TV to do my next weather report. I started panicking and I felt my eyes swell up with tears. I took a few deep breaths and choked back the tears as best as I could while my floor director started counting down from our commercial break. 10…9…8… How am I going to make it through the next 90 seconds? Nobody wants to watch a meteorologist on TV that isn’t happy and cheerful. Adrenaline started kicking in and I forced a smile 3…2…1… CUE. Nobody watching my show knew the internal battle I was having at that exact moment. That’s one of the hardest parts about my job. No matter what is going on in my personal life, I need to separate it from work. Somehow I managed to get through the last hour of our newscast with a smile on my face.

This new lump was different. I was really scared and finally decided to get back in to see another doctor. Since then, I’ve been stabbed with needles more times than I can count, I’ve had ultrasounds, an MRI, CT scan, PET scan, needle biopsy, and an excisional biopsy. I’ve been in a doctors’ offices more times in the past two months than I have in the past 5 years of my life. It was a lot of waiting and that was the hardest part.

Finally, on May 5, I got some answers. They weren’t the answers I wanted, but at least I finally knew what I was dealing with. I was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

I decided to share my experience on live TV and you can watch the clip below. This was the hardest day of my career so far, but I’m hoping my story may help someone out there. Please always remember to listen to your body! I can’t say it enough- if you feel like something may be wrong, it probably is.

I don’t know what the road ahead will be like or even where I’ll be in a month. What I do know is I’ll get through this and I’ll be stronger than ever. I’m using this as my place to stay connected, share updates, and mostly, just as a therapeutic way to get things off my chest. I hope you’ll follow along on my journey with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

 

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79 thoughts on “The beginning of my journey with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

  1. Keep writing, Crystal. I found. “Journal therapy” very comforting when I was having a rough time. “You got this”

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  2. You are such an inspiration and I will be following you during this difficult time and praying for your recovery!

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  3. Thanks Crystal, opening up to close friends is hard, putting yourself completely out there for the world takes incredible strength. I look forward to the updates on your journey, my thoughts are with you.

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  4. Crystal you’ve got this. Im a firm believer in the old saying laughter is the best medicine. And the same goes for your positibe attitude. SO KICK CANCERS BUTT. You are still in my prayers!!

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  5. Thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep the positive attitude and journal entries going as this will be a powerful help to you and others in the weeks and months ahead.

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  6. I think this is a wonderful idea. And it’s nice to let people know what this journey is like. I can relate as I have been poked with more needles and seen the doctor more in the last 10 weeks than I have my whole adult life. But I am healing, and I trust in what my doctor suggests for me. Doctors have so many wonderful options to fight cancers. Mine was able to specifically target my genetic marker for the melanoma growth that I had and give me immunotherapy medicines that enabled me to kill it with my own immune system. It’s now almost down to the original mole. I hope people take away that while it’s a scary journey at times you do see progress rather quickly. And yes, listen to your body….it’s usually never misleading you.

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  7. This is great. My daughter did this for my grandson and it kept everyone informed and people don’t get their feeling hurt. Thanks.

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  8. Good Morning Crystal, You’ve already demonstrated that you have the personal strength to beat this – so glad you looked for a second opinion. Keep smiling, and stay strong!

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  9. Crystal. I am amazed with your strength and positive attitude. You will always be a mentor and show people in a very public way. Education is the best way for you and the public , just the fact that you want to share your journey and struggle is amazing. So many people struggle with chronic When you have a disease or chronic illness, people will say “you dont look sick” ..I hate that phrase. I suffer from diabetes, also gastro paresis a chronic stomach condition. where you feel full, bloated constant nausea. I am a runner and promote my illness on line also. I show people you can do whatever you want to do . IT IS POSSIBLE.

    Thank you for sharing your journey I will continue to follow your progress and steps forward to a great recovery.

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  10. Crystal you are such a happy and strong person. Just keep on with being positive and we all are praying for you. It is scary when you hear the word Cancer. Keep in mind there are many people fighting this as am I. Positivity and prayers work wonders. You will be in my prayers every night. Please keep on writing as I think it helps you through your journey to great health once again. ❤️💐

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  11. I am glad you are going to blog about this. I wish I would have done it when I went through cancer (lost a kidney). I hope you write about all your feelings and emotions as well as what is going on in your life at the time so that you will be able to help others get through their rough and troubling times. God bless you.

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  12. Crystal, It is Paquita Reid-Fuller again. I am a firm believer of taking care of yourself. I am glad that you are surrounded by a Fantastic team at Channel 13 that has empathy for their employees. I will continue to pray for you and follow how you are doing.Remember that God has this BATTLE!

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  13. We are at CHKD right now getting an ultrasound on my sons bumps on his neck. Praying it’s nothing. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  14. Thank you for sharing,you are so brave to open up and be transparent. God bless young woman and may we all gather in prayer for you.

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  15. Thank you Crystal. God bless you. We watched yor last (for now) broadcast for now and are inspired by your grace and courage during this difficult time. I am cancer free now and I pray that you will be soon.

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  16. Hi Crystal,

    Thank you for sharing your story. After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in November, I have just received my clean bill of health about a week ago. I hope you get a quick recovery and that you find peace with using your blog as a tool for you!

    Much love and good vibes,
    Dana

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  17. Crystal – Prayers for you on your journey to a full health. My brother had Hodgkin’s when he was younger and is doing quite well. I wish for you the same outcome!

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  18. Crystal, Our thoughts and prayers are with you! As you go through the various medical treatments over the next few months, remember that there are thousands of us who are following your treatment and recovery.

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