My name is Racheli, and I haven’t the easiest life, but I’m quite grateful for the life I have lived so far.
As a youngin’, I moved around constantly. From Florida to Israel, Israel to Florida, Florida back to Israel, Israel to Maryland, and then Maryland back to Florida. In the midst of moving, I had heartache involving family loss, friends passing away, tough financial situations and a not-so-present father.
My life continues to be filled with hardship, but I believe that life without hardship would not be life at all.
After going to three different high-schools, it was time to start applying to college. Denied. I wrote an appeal letter (Hey, you should never give up!) and the school decided to change its mind!
After three successful years in college, my stepfather passed away very suddenly in July 2013.
I decided to leave school and move back home to live with my mom during this time of grieving. After six months I decided it was time for me to get back out in “the real world.” This decision prompted me to apply to schools in California, and ultimately move to Los Angeles in January 2015.
And there it was, the beginning of the end of the beginning of my life. (Stay with me here; it will make sense. I promise.)
I was diagnosed with lymphoma on May 19, 2015, just five months after moving to Los Angeles, and 2,500 miles away from my family. The diagnosis came at age 21, just a few weeks after finishing my junior year of college. On the day of diagnosis, I chose to video blog my journey and share the real and raw moments with family, friends, and the rest of the world. I coined the nickname Radiant Racheli because I wanted to radiate positive vibes to the people watching my videos, and cancer treatment usually involves some type of radiation, right?
I hopped on a red eye flight the day after I was diagnosed to meet with a Hematologist Oncologist (HemOnc, for the veterans patients). I went through a week of testing, which determined that my heart and lungs were healthy enough for chemo and that I had stage 3B Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer that is not a stranger to my family. Two of my cousins both had Hodgkin’s lymphoma 40 years ago. I was to start treatment almost immediately with no time to freeze eggs as a fertility preservation option.
On June 8, 2015, a port was surgically placed and treatment began that June 12. The treatment plan was to receive 12 rounds of ABVD chemo.
SPOILER ALERT: mid-treatment we dropped Bleomycin due to lung toxicity and I got blood clots in my lungs.
I learned through my experiences (and sometimes even re-watching my YouTube) that positivity and mindfulness is what helped me get through my treatment and complications.
In this column, I hope to share with you how to put in the effort to use mindfulness to overcome your life’s adversities. Get ready for all of the little nitty gritty details of life with lymphoma and, ultimately, life after lymphoma!
Let’s do this, shall we? (As long as chemo brain permits.)
What should we talk about? I’d love to hear from you and start some dialogue!
Note: Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lymphoma.