At the beginning of 2014, I was your average American girl in her 20's with a steady job, living up my life without a worry in the world. I had been blessed with great health and always made working out and eating well a priority. Other than the occasional sniffles here and there, I'd barely been to a doctor's office my entire life. That all changed when I developed a mysterious cough that simply wouldn't go away.
I first saw a doctor when my cough really started to act up. I'd never experienced anything like it before, and being in sales, constantly hacking up a storm was less than ideal. My primary care physician was the first to turn me away, saying it was just allergies. I was given some over the counter allergy meds and sent home.
Months passed, and my cough got progressively worse. I saw one or two more doctors and was told that there was nothing wrong with me, given more allergy medication, and turned away. It got to a point where coughing became second nature to me. Several doctors had told me that I had nothing to worry about, so I learned to ignore my symptom and move on with my life.
Over two years later, though, I started to develop other symptoms as well. I started waking up every night because of night sweats. I lost 20 pounds, without making any changes to my lifestyle. I had routine, severe abdominal pain. It became clear to me that something in my body wasn't right. (Related: I Was Fat Shamed By My Doctor and Now I'm Hesitant to Go Back)
In honor of #worldlymphomaawarenessday I had to post this picture. The left was one week before I ended up in the ER in January. I had a rash all over my legs, horrible chronic cough, swollen lymph nodes, golf balls underneath my armpits, and horrible abdominal pain. This went misdiagnosed for THREE years, and I was told I had allergies first then acid reflux. Two weeks later I went into respiratory failure, and had 1 quart of fluid drained from my left lung. I almost died because no one could tell me that I had Lymphoma, until it spread to every organ in my body to be stage 4. It was then that I met Dr. Lossos at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, who ended up saving my life. The right picture was after my first chemo. I hope this spreads awareness because unfortunately, Lymphoma goes misdiagnosed every day! It can happen to ANYONE! Every day is a blessing. ]]>🙏🏼💜🙏🏼💕💜💕💪🏼💜😂