Dear Jack


Active LifeList Participant

At the age of 28, in May of 2023, I received my official diagnosis. I had stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was a significant moment overshadowed by the looming plans of my destination wedding set for September of the same year.

The timing couldn’t have been more surreal; my biopsy surgery coincided with the Friday of what was supposed to be my bachelorette weekend. Initially, I hesitated, and considered canceling, but my closest friends insisted on me going to my biopsy and being by my side. Thus, we transformed the event into “Sammy’s Wellness Weekend,” spending our time by the pool, concocting smoothies, and downing ginger shots. It was a blend of bittersweet moments of joy amid the foreboding anticipation of test results hinting it was more than likely cancer.

When the news finally arrived, it hit me like a sledgehammer. I needed to start  chemotherapy immediately, as the cancer had already spread throughout my body. Shock consumed me, and totally shattered all my plans. Desperate to have my wedding while I still had a full head of hair, my mom took charge, organizing a local wedding within a mere two weeks. Juggling chemotherapy treatments and full-time work, I found myself immersed in a whirlwind of emotions, barely able to keep pace with the rapid changes. 

The wedding day, though beautiful beyond words, was a struggle. My physical condition weighed heavily on me, robbing me of the energy to fully enjoy the festivities. The grand wedding dance I had envisioned didn’t happen. With the onset of treatment, I had to pause numerous aspirations – starting a family, embarking on vacations, pursuing professional milestones. Hindered by the limitations of my small company’s minimal short term disability policy, I had to balance between medical leave and financial stability, often resorting to unpaid absences during the grueling chemo sessions. I have finished chemotherapy and am currently waiting for PET scans and results to come back. 

Samantha’s LifeList:

  1. A honeymoon trip for her and her husband

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