Living with Lymphoma

There were a lot of unknowns. At the age of 26, Jen was the youngest person ever to be diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The average age being somewhere between 55-60. “I didn’t know much about it. I went on a leukemia and lymphoma website and looked it up and just poured over information for hours and hours about the disease and what was going to happen.”

Jen had to figure out a way to still live her life and enjoy her youth, though she had cancer.

Jen was incredibly independent, a single woman living alone, when she got sick. Balancing her independence with her sudden need to be taken care of was a huge challenge. “My mother would come to stay with me on treatment days. There were days that I still wanted to make my bed, and I still wanted to get ready. I would never let my mom help me take a bath or, when I could, take a shower. At the same time, I gave her complete control of the kitchen, which is huge for me.”

She found out on May 24th that her cancer was in remission, but the doctor was very frank-this isn’t a cure. It can and probably will come back. Although remission can seem like an end to life with cancer, Jen is very conscious of keeping a sober and peaceful perspective about her health. “For now, I go to the doctor every three months for checkups. I have X‑rays every six months. I have bone marrow biopsies every six to eight months. In between the doctor’s visits, I just have fun.”