Turning a negative diagnosis into a positive journey
My name is Alix, I had cancer, but there’s more to me than that.
At 17 years old, you should be spending time with friends, enjoying life, and getting ready to graduate high school. Cancer never really seems to be something you’re worried about. August of 2015, I started noticing changes in my body. I was SO tired, I didn’t want to do the normal Summer activities with my friends. I was also covered in bruises; not just a few here and there as if I fell, but COVERED. My mom actually asked me if I got in fight because it was so bad. I looked up my symptoms and I kind of just knew I had cancer. I could feel it. A few days later I decided to stop by the Urgent Care clinic with my friend (who was at the hospital for a different appointment). Everything changed from that moment. I got some blood taken, waited 2 very long hours, and the nurse came back to tell me it could either be a blood disorder…or cancer. I felt numb. From there, we had to schedule a bone marrow aspiration to even figure out if it was cancer. It was already 9 p.m. and I was without a legal guardian so we set it up for the next day.
I went home, feeling more nervous than I ever felt in my life. I didn’t sleep, it was impossible with all the thoughts going through my head. We head back to the hospital the next day and I get ready for my BMA. After I woke up from the anesthesia, my back was in so much pain from where they took my bone marrow. I headed to the bathroom to freshen up, and when I got back there were doctors sitting by my parents. I just knew. I knew it was cancer. I already assumed I was sick but hearing the words “you have cancer” is like a kick to the stomach. Burkitt’s Leukemia is a rare, fast growing, aggressive cancer so of course I was scared. From there, I was sent up to the Cancer Unit to start treatment. I didn’t even get to go home first. The first few days were strange. I got a lot of tests done, I got my Hickman Line inserted, and I had to get used to the fact that this was basically home now. I didn’t see a lot of friends/family at this time, and it was so lonely in the hospital. I met a lot of great nurses and doctors who eventually I considered family.
I spent so many months feeling so horrible, getting sick, not being able to live my life. I somehow managed to keep a positive attitude. I’ve grown to love the hospital. It’s not a scary place for me anymore, I wouldn’t be here without it. I spent 60+ nights there. I went through 6 very intense rounds of chemotherapy. I went to the ER every time I spiked a fever in fear of a blood infection. But after the 5 longest months of my life, all of that was over.
After the new year, I was cancer free. On January 11, 2016 I got my last Bone Marrow Aspiration and no cancer was found. Since that day, my life has changed forever. A cancer diagnosis is horrible but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. I’m now volunteering with people that are going through what I went through. I appreciate life so much more than I used to, knowing it can change in the blink of an eye. I truly love life and I wouldn’t be who the positive, happy person that I am today if I never went through this. LOVEbeatsCANCER. It’s a fact.
Also, my incredible best friend Michelle Limanni wrote a song called ‘Alix’s Song”, it’s on Spotify and Itunes. Please check it out. All proceeds go to cancer patients in need! 🙂