I began working as a registered nurse with Tennessee Oncology in December 2014. Throughout 2015, I began experiencing many unexplained symptoms (night sweats, weight loss, frequent illness, anemia, etc). After performing a self-exam, I discovered a new and unexplained lump/knot/lymph node in my lower neck region.
The day after the discovery, I asked my colleagues (other TNONC nurses, physicians, and NPs) to assess this lump. Within the day, I underwent an ultrasound and fine needle biopsy; however, both were inconclusive. I then went through a series of scans that showed other multiple enlarged lymph nodes. It was then determined I would have an excisional biopsy of the node in my neck in order to have a definitive diagnosis. This biopsy of one of my enlarged lymph nodes showed that I, in fact, was now a cancer patient. In January 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was now an oncology nurse AND an oncology patient. I underwent chemotherapy treatment for 6 months after diagnosis, all while continuing to work full-time as an oncology nurse. I worked in the same office in which I was being treated.
Throughout my treatment, I valued my co-workers/friends the most. They weren’t only my co-workers/friends, but they were now my caregivers. The TNONC staff (my colleagues and friends) were my “Knights In Shining Armor”. They helped to guide me through the most difficult time of my life. They helped to make my treatments not so unbearable. They were my ROCK; the ones I could lean on with any fears, worries, anxieties, questions, etc. I will forever be thankful and grateful for the care and friendships they provided for me and they continue to provide for me.