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“I was ready to end it all”

Jenny was diagnosed with a blood cancer called lymphoma. The following are all Jenny’s words, shared with the Leukaemia Foundation to help raise awareness of blood cancer during September’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2019. 

I was a 28 year old female who was having trouble breathing. Repeated trips to the doctor left me with an asthma diagnosis. I was a nanny to a hematologist and after I told her my symptoms she asked me to get a second opinion.

I went to a chest specialist who did an x-ray, and this found that my lungs were covered. He thought I had pneumonia, so I was put on steriods for 2 weeks.

Initially doctors thought Jenny had pneumonia

Another x-ray showed the mass hadn’t moved, so I had a broncoscopy and doctor said it looked like cancer. I had a needle biopsy which was inconclusive, so they had to put me under a general anesthetic and do a full biopsy.

I was admitted into hospital for 10 days and it was busy – discussing chemotherapy, radiation. i was to have 6 rounds of in-hospital chemo, then over 30 rounds of radiation. My hair fell out and I had the worst mouth ulcers.

After all that, I had a stem cell transplant which resulted in a month in hospital, and the worst gastro and vomiting. I was ready to end it all.

I was classified as being in remission for three months when the pain and fevers started again. I had relapsed.

I was told there was a new drug called mabthera which was maybe going to give me a 50% chance of living. If it doesn’t work I was told I would be dead by Christmas. Mabthera was $26 000 and the mater public offered to pay for it. Apart from lowering my blood pressure, the drug had no side effects.

I was told I wouldn’t have kids but now have 13 year old twins. I have been in remission 22 years. Although my health is a bit average, I am grateful to the doctors and nurses for not giving up on me.

I had non-hodgkin lymphoma. The tumor was 14.4cms when they found it. I didn’t smoke or do drugs and I hardly drank and used to run to keep fit.

It just shows that cancer can hit anyone.