A Message from Katie
“I am one of the many adolescents and young adults with cancer who unknowingly were helped by donors like you. Your donation helps young patients know someone cares; someone wishes us well, and someone is thinking of us. Thank you for caring, and thank you for supporting me and others like me in the future.”
Something Wrong, But What…
Six years earlier, at the age of twenty-six, Katie had had symptoms of fatigue, sore throat and swelling in her neck. Doctors had made an initial connection between her career as a groomer and the symptoms from which she was suffering. They believed, at the time, she had likely been scratched by one of the many pets in her care, which could possibly have given her a type of bacterial infection. Trying to move forward, she tried to ignore her persistent symptoms.
Almost two years later, after numerous doctors, batteries of tests and countless series of medications, she still felt no better. She finally visited one doctor who looked at her and immediately reviewed her chest x-rays and diagnosed her with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The only way to explain why it took so long is that youth are typically healthy and are not suspected of having cancer. Katie feels very fortunate that she was diagnosed and that she was able, eventually, to get treatment.
The Treatment Begins, So Too Does Support For The Journey
Katie’s spirits were still high as she entered into the room where she would get her first chemotherapy treatment; her new, loving and supportive husband by her side. The nurse who had just explained what was about to happen, came to where she was sitting and gave her a big black backpack with a large lion on it… a Vo-Pak. Katie turned to her husband and for the first time in the entire health journey, she and her husband allowed themselves a moment to shed tears.
The kindness and consideration that this Vo-Pak represented touched the young couple deeply. Katie says that she could not believe that someone would have done this, and to have been given it at that moment in time meant even more. Katie explained that the feeling of understanding of what she was going through was also made real with the well-thought-out contents of the bag. Her Vo-Pak was brought to every treatment. “To this day, I still use many items, they make me feel cared for,” she says.
Katie completed her treatment in eight months while navigating the emotional, financial and physical ups and downs of the harrowing journey.
With the love and support of her husband, her parents, siblings and close friends, and perhaps most importantly, a tremendously grateful outlook on life, Katie has been in remission for three and a half years. She is back on her feet financially and growing her business. She is grateful for the care and compassion of the hard-working nursing staff. She is grateful to her devoted husband and for the love of her family and the care and patience of her friends, clients and charities like VOBOC. She is open to any way in which she can share experiences with other young adults who have been given a cancer diagnosis. She is thankful for finally getting the diagnosis.