In September of 2021, I was having crushing chest pains and shortness of breath. The pain got so bad that my mom took me to the hospital and they did a CT scan. The doctor came in and asked to speak to my mom outside the room. I sat alone in the room shaking and crying when all of a sudden I heard my mom crying outside my room and from that moment I knew it was something bad. My mom came back in with the doctor and, with tears in her eyes, said, “Alex, they think you have cancer.” I was in total shock. They took me straight up to oncology. At 19-years-old, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoblastic lymphoma.
It turned out that the mass in my side was the size of a navel orange. My parents have definitely been my rocks through it all. They have been to all of my hospital visits, chemo appointments, surgeries, and they take the best care of me at home. It can be difficult on the caregivers too and they have been troopers.
I had to be on steroids for the first thirty days and that was really tough. I am used to being active – I am in cosmetology school and own a small online boutique (www.milonivy.com). The change in my energy is very different and has been depressing. There are so many side effects that come with chemo that I didn’t even know about. The good thing is that this cancer is curable and treatable.