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National Cancer Survivor’s Day

Today's blog comes from cancer survivor and advocate Nicole Body.

Nicole Body | June 1, 2018

National Cancer Survivor’s Day

My diagnosis

For many years I struggled with becoming sick almost every time I tried to eat food. I tried everything: going to doctors’ offices, trying different scans and tests and attempting every diet I could imagine, but no one could figure out what was wrong with me. In June 2017, the nausea and intolerance to food was the worst it had ever been, so I found myself back in the doctor’s office searching for answers yet again.

My doctor thought it was my gallbladder, which I had heard before. An ultrasound and CT scan showed my gallbladder looked fine, but he saw a lesion resting on my pancreas. He discovered my gallbladder was failing, and we now knew that it was indeed my gallbladder that was causing these symptoms for years. The timing for this discovery could not have been better, as they also found that the lesion on my pancreas was possibly cancer.

On July 18, 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma. After four rounds of chemo and two surgeries, I’ve had no evidence of disease since December 13, 2017.

To Patients and survivors on National Cancer Survivor’s Day

From the moment of diagnosis, we become members of a new family: a cancer-fighting family. It’s a family we never thought we would be in—but this is a community of people who “get us” and that we can connect with instantly. Whether we are in treatment or post-treatment, we face obstacles we never imagined and have to find a way to persevere through the trials and find hope in all of it.

My prayer for you—and for me—is that we do everything we can to take care of ourselves, count our blessings daily, live life abundantly, support one another and bring awareness to those around us. No matter what stage you are in, I want you to know that you are incredible, you are loved and you are not alone. I encourage you to share your story, including the highs and lows, and bring to light a real picture of what facing cancer looks like and how others can best love you on your journey. You are strong, beautiful, courageous and phenomenal. Never forget that, my friends.

Early detection and self-screening

The three most important things about early detection and self-screening that I have learned through my journey are:

  1. Get a second opinion. If you don’t feel like something is right, don’t give up on yourself. Second opinions can take more time out of an already busy schedule, but you are worth it.
  2. Educate yourself. After my diagnosis, I started an Instagram, @SparklySurvivor, to encourage other fighters/survivors/supporters and to create awareness of other cancers. I had no idea there were so many other types of cancer out there! Every month, I take time to research the cancers that fall under that month for awareness to learn about how to detect that cancer early, and then I share it online.
  3. Check and listen to your body. I knew something wasn’t right over these last few years, so I kept going in to try to find answers. It ended up saving my life! You are your own best advocate—pay attention to changes and check for lumps on your body. Complete all of your annual checkups, because cancer can be found anywhere. I actually just went to my annual exam at my OBGYN, and they found a lump on my left breast that was biopsied today. It was something I missed on a self-check, so going to the doctor is still important!

You are a Survivor! Keep up the fight! You are not alone and will never be alone in this. God bless you all!

Sparkle on,

Nicole Body {Sparkly Survivor}
www.SparklySurvivor.com

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