It seems more and more people are developing diseases that doctors can’t properly diagnose. Cancer is affecting more people right now than it ever has before. Sometimes it makes itself obvious, but others it’s completely unpredictable. The illness can spring up seemingly out of nowhere, and suddenly your life has changed forever. While most of us think we are invincible when we are young, even young adults in their teens and twenties can get cancer as well.
Just ask Lauren Chiarello, a strong woman from New York City. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December 2007, when she was just 23 years old.
The young woman couldn’t believe her terrible luck at first. While hundreds of thousands of people get cancer each year, it’s easy to feel that the world is directly conspiring against your life.
The first sign of her cancer was rather bizarre. It wasn’t weakness, tiredness, or anything you might expect. Lauren’s cancer manifested itself in the skin on her legs, arms, and stomach in the form of an unscratchable itch that wouldn’t go away.
“As I was leaving, I decided to mention a lump I felt because, even though the dermatologist didn’t mention it, I thought, ‘Let me just speak up because it can be so easy to sit on the sidelines and say nothing,” she told Daily Mail Online.
Doctors were stumped by her condition, even after months of tests. She had no rashes or marks that would indicate some sort of skin condition, so they had no idea what was causing the itchiness.
Until one fateful day when a doctor ordered her to be tested for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Lauren was stunned and frightened by the results. Two biopsies showed that she had stage 2A Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“That was a really hard thing to hear. I was so young and totally sidelined. I thought I was “doing all the right things”. I had been a vegetarian since I was 14, I did intramural sports in college, I would go out for runs…” she continued. “To be honest, my first thought was: ‘I don’t wanna die. There’s so much life left to be lived and I want to be here to do it.”
She immediately underwent aggressive chemotherapy treatment to get rid of those cancer cells wreaking havoc on her young body. As someone who exercised regularly and ate healthily, she knew she could beat cancer. And she did!
By August 2008, the cancer was officially in remission. The blood cancer stayed dormant for 6 months until she had a routine test around 6 months later. The test showed that the lymphoma had returned with a vengeance. She went back in for another painful round of chemo – this time, hopefully, the last.
The second round of treatment proved more effective than the first, and she has remained cancer-free for the last 10 years! Thanks to the amazing medical treatment she received, Lauren is now able to share her message with the world.
In the years since Lauren has started to run marathons and inspire others to chase their dreams and never give up, no matter what.