Bonnie: Lymphoma Cancer Survivor
Dedicated to tomorrow's miracle
At the age of twenty-five, cancer wasn't even a thought in my mind. In February of 2000 I was in the hospital for an unrelated illness when a spot showed up on my chest x-ray. My physicians took a biopsy, which revealed that I had stage IB Hodgkin's Disease. It took a few days to overcome the shock of the news but then it hit me; I was being faced with my own mortality at an age when I was supposed to be invincible.
I received chemotherapy and thought I was getting better, but a few months after my treatments I had a chronic cold and no one knew what was wrong with me. When I learned that my disease had recurred, I was referred to Dr. Dennis Cooper at Yale Cancer Center. At first I was skeptical about meeting and trusting a new oncologist because I was upset and afraid. I entered into the situation without an open-mind. However, the moment I met Dr. Dennis Cooper and his nurse practitioner Erin Medoff, I knew that I would be taken care of. They did everything they could to make me feel comfortable and I knew I would be safe in Dr. Cooper's hands.
One of my biggest concerns beginning treatment was fertility. There wasn't time to take the precautions needed and it came to the point where I had no choice but to save my life and worry about the consequences later. I wasn't married at the time and decided that I needed to focus on doing what it took to get better. I received chemotherapy and had a stem cell transplant. I thought I had given up my dreams of having children.
Henry is our miracle child. I married my husband Paul after my treatment and in October 2006, I gave birth to our son. There are no words to express the joy we felt when I found out I was pregnant. One of the first people I called was Dr. Cooper. I knew that he would be just as excited as we were. I gave birth to Henry at Yale-New Haven Hospital and after he was born Dr. Cooper and Erin came in to visit. That was a moment I will never forget. I was back in the hospital with Dr. Cooper, but this time we were sharing something so wonderful; something I never thought would happen. We gained another family in Yale Cancer Center. When I first came I was worried that I wouldn't receive the attention I needed, but I found that the opposite was true. They did everything right. They embraced not only me, but my entire family as well.
A miracle was born from my experience with cancer. I proved that you could come out of something terrible and be normal and healthy. Never give up on your dreams and make sure to accomplish the things you thought you never could. Take control of every moment that you have. I believe that everything happens for a reason. You may not know what the reason is at the time, but you'll figure it out. It's comforting to know that something so good can still come from something so devastating.
Having Henry has taught me that miracles do happen. I found out that I was pregnant just before my 30th birthday and my five-year cancer free mark. These were two landmarks I had been striving to reach, but they were overshadowed by the news that I was pregnant. I was closing a chapter of my life and opening a new one. I was able to put my disease behind me and live for the future; for my child.