…86 Days Until Race Day
Her Sweet 16 Birthday was anything but sweet. That was the day she found out that she had Stage 2b Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and would have to undergo 5 months of treatment. Sure, her friends came to the hospital to sing her happy birthday (those are some SPECIAL friends) but it’s also the day that she took her 1st round of chemotherapy.
Courtney shares her story:
“I was rushed to the hospital after severe shortness of breath following fainting while getting my braces off. The hospital thought I had pneumonia and fluid in my lungs so they took me by ambulance to Texas Children’s Hospital for a CT scan and for my lungs to be drained.
It was there they found a large tumor in between my lungs and behind my heart. It was also pushing my trachea completely to the right side of my neck and throat. They didn’t know what type of tumor it was, but were confident it was cancerous. For five days, I was wheeled into multiple biopsy surgeries as they tried to get a large enough piece of it to make a diagnosis.
Finally, after the worst wait of our lives, they came back with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Sadly, I was considered lucky as this cancer with treatment now has a high survival rate, unlike so many of the other children I was in treatment with for other cancers.
I had to stay in the hospital for almost a month as my chest was so full of fluid it took that long to drain. Additionally, I developed a blood clot in my life arm that had to be monitored.
The next three months was 12-hour days of chemo followed by battling the effects at home before moving onto radiation. Every day, I would wake up by my mom giving me a shot, followed by taking a ton of meds and having my sister or family member cleaning out my PICC line so I could get my chemo.
The biggest impact on my body was how quickly it knocked me down from seemingly out of nowhere. I went from being a tennis player to a very sick person almost overnight.
Of course, I had to deal with losing my hair, not being allowed to be around a lot of people due to fear of infection, not getting to return to school for the rest of my sophomore year and for a time in my life only being associated as having cancer.
I was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease) in December 2011 when my scans showed for the first time a dead tumor that was slowly starting to break apart!
This past December, I became a long-term survivor.
Cancer completely changed my path in life. Now, I am a senior at The University of Texas at Austin, currently applying to medical school in the fall so that I can become a pediatric oncologist.
I have been a camp counselor at Camp Periwinkle, a camp for children with cancer or who have had cancer, and I have found a calling to serve those in need of health care.” – Courtney
Because Courtney was a tennis player and they run in sprints and spurts, I chose today to run for her.
Today’s run was a double workout. First up was a 2 mile warm up then 5 x 1 mile at 7:45 or below pace with 3-4 minute recovery between miles. My 5 x 1 mile splits: 7:43, 7:43, 7:24, 7:27, 7:16 (took 2:30 walk and :30 jog between). The 2nd part of the workout was an hour run where I covered 6.5 miles.
Courtney, just like you stomped cancer, we crushed this run today.
Who will you meet tomorrow?