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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.

Last updated on August 6th, 2020

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.