A Profile of Hope: Erica's Story
After having a persistent cough for two weeks I finally decided to see my physician. He prescribed antibiotics which proved to be unsuccessful. Then, I was ordered to have a computerized tomography (CAT or CT) scan that showed signs of pneumonia. This necessitated a second CT scan and that is when the doctor told me, "Erica you have enlarged lymph nodes on your lungs."
Shortly after, I had two biopsies to determine what was wrong. By this point I had more than just a cough. I was losing weight, having night sweats and overall in poor health. Eventually after more tests and surgical procedures, I ended up back in the hospital. While in the hospital doctors performed another CT scan, which showed the enlarged lymph nodes had spread from my lungs to my stomach and arm pits which strongly suggested lymphoma. After even more tests, on March 28, 2013, I was finally diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma. I was 27 years old. The official diagnosis really drove home the severity of the situation for me.
What followed was a grueling ordeal that included low blood counts, shingles, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA), blood clots, anxiety, happy days and sad days. Then on June 8, 2013 my positron emission tomography scan (PET) revealed my lymphoma had gone into remission!
After seeing my PET scan results for the first time with my doctor I felt wonderful. Every other week for six months I continued chemotherapy. After a few treatments I started to feel nausea in my stomach and painful tingling throughout my body. It seemed as if the sickness lasted until the following chemo treatment. I almost wanted to give up but my doctor asked me to be strong and continue until I had my last therapy session. I was given anti-nausea medicine to help settle my sickness and other meds for the discomfort throughout my body. I got through it and underwent my last chemo treatment September 27th, 2013.
The road to recovery was tremendously hard for me. The process of healing and fighting lymphoma was not easy but after six months of chemotherapy, transplants, transfusions and lots and lots of prayer... I BEAT CANCERS BUTT... by God's grace!
I participated in my first Lymphoma Research Foundation Lymphomathon on April 27, 2014, in Washington, D.C. It was so exciting to be a part of such a great cause by raising money with my team "Our D'zire," to find better treatments and a cure for lymphoma. I knew once I was in remission I wanted to give back and I said to myself, I want to be a part of saving someone else's life starting today!
Learn more about Erica's journey here: http://www.ericasurvived.com
Erica founded D'zire2Survive with a mission to improve the quality of life of patients and their families touched by the lymphoma disease, by providing education and up to date information. Erica wants to inspire patients with peer to peer comfort to help them continue to fight and overcome their battle with blood cancers.