From Tragedy to Triumph, how childhood cancer changed my Life...
Hello! My name is Lexi, and I am one of the new Publications interns for The Forever Moriah Foundation. Cancer is something that personally changed my life, and that is why I am so excited to be working with The Forever Moriah Foundation. I want to raise awareness about childhood cancer through my words, but before I embark on this exciting journey, I would first like to share a little bit about my personal story.
As fall approaches, I am reminded of what changed my life only five years ago. In October of 2015, I went to the doctor because I had this cough that would not go away. After getting a chest X-ray, the doctor concluded that I likely had pneumonia. With just a couple days of IV-therapy, I would be back to normal.
However, that wasn’t the case. My chest X-ray ended up looking the exact same after the therapy as it did before. If I really had pneumonia, then I would’ve showed some signs of healing and improvement. That day, my 15-year-old ears heard something I never dreamt of hearing: “You have lymphoma.”
At that moment, my world froze. I immediately Googled lymphoma and found out that it was indeed cancer. I called my family and told them the news, and then we all went to meet with the pediatric oncologist. The days that followed were very long and draining, but at the end of the week, I found out that I had Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It had apparently been growing in me for a couple years. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. Most children diagnosed with this can be successfully cured.
I received 12 rounds of chemotherapy treatment over the course of six months. During that time, I grew in my faith with Jesus more than I thought possible. I turned to poetry to write out my feelings, and I turned to my family for the support I needed. For some reason, I never once was afraid that I might die. I simply took the diagnosis as a challenge, and I prayed that God would fight the battle for me. He certainly did.
In April of 2016, my doctor told me I was now in remission. The celebration that followed was so memorable. I no longer had to worry about feeling nauseous half the time, and my hair was just starting to grow back. This turn of events inspired me to keep a journal of all that I went through, and whenever I look back on it, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and mercy.
That winter, I went on a Make-A-Wish trip to Times Square with my family to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Exactly one year before that, I spent my New Year’s Eve in the hospital, receiving treatment and painting my ceiling tile. The tile still hangs in the waiting room of the pediatric oncology clinic, so I get to see it every time I go for a check-up.
Now, I am almost five years cancer free. As a junior in college, I still do what I can to spread awareness about childhood cancers. Last fall, I ran a 5K and fundraised for St. Jude’s. Whenever there is a blood drive going on, I encourage my friends and family to donate if they can. In addition, I keep children with cancer in my prayers, and I continuously thank God for healing me. I especially look forward to spreading awareness during my time here with The Forever Moriah Foundation.