21 Year Old Small Business Owner
Meet the girl who carries
so much faith in her heart
On October 1 2021 I was having a normal Friday. I had cosmetology school off that day and I decided to go and get my nails done for fall! I love all things beauty and I love all things self-care and Fridays we’re my days off so that’s just what I did! Meanwhile, all throughout September, I had been having chest pains, shortness of breath, and whenever I would sleep on my side there would be a crushing pain. This pain was indescribable I literally said “I wish I could rip open my chest to show you where the pain is” when I described it to my mom and dad! During my nail appointment, I got a call from my doctor's office saying that I could get a CT scan the following Friday to see what was going on. By the time I reached home, the pain was still there and it had already been a month of this pain, I and my family started to get worried. When I got home my mom took me to the closest hospital (St Joe) at around 8 pm at night. We walked in and the line was so long I didn’t even want to wait. Thank God we waited….they took me back for a CT scan and the doctor came in and said “mom can I speak with you alone?” meanwhile my dad is an hour away still working and worried to death. I sat alone in the room shaking, crying, and all of a sudden I hear my mom crying her eyes out from outside of the room, and from that moment I knew it was something bad. My mom walked back in with the doctor and with tears in her eyes said “Alex they think you have cancer” I said WHAT?! I was in total shock. I already have OCD/anxiety so we just thought it was from that. We had so many questions from there. “Was I going to die?” “What kind of cancer is this?” “Is it curable?” So many questions in such little time. Right away they put an IV in my arm (super painful) and they took me straight up to oncology. After many many days spent at St Joe waiting for test results to figure out what kind of cancer this is we finally got some news. At 19 years old I am diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. This is a very rare t-cell blood cancer. Oncology said I would have to be in the hospital for months with 2 years of treatment. After about 5 days spent at St Joe, they finally transferred me to U Of M Motts Children’s Hospital. By far the biggest blessing. I didn’t have to stay in the hospital for months, just a little over a week. My oncology team at U of M Motts specializes in my type of cancer which is a blessing! While in the hospital I had a bone marrow test to see if the cancer was in my bones (it was not thank goodness) but worst pain I have ever felt. Definitely felt like someone had beat me up in the back over 20 times. I then got more scans and a spinal tap. I have never been in the hospital for such a long amount of time but my sweet nurses made it special while I was there. So thank you nurses on floor 7 I will always remember and cherish you.
Before leaving the hospital I also got a PICC line in my left arm and that is where I get all of my chemotherapy done. Usually, patients get ports but I had to wait a month because they did not want to disrupt the mass. The mass was the size of a navel orange. They can get as big as a watermelon!!! Which is insane to think about. My parents have definitely been my rocks through it all. My parents have come 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. After being released from the hospital i was able to go back home thankfully! My parents help me with meds that I take every night and every morning, flush my PICC line, and wrap my arm before showers. They have been angels!!!! The toughest thing has been being on steroids for the first 30 days. I am so used to being active, doing hair, and always being on the move so the change was very different and depressing. My face blew up and I ate more than I ever have in life from the steroids so I was struggling and not sure how to cope but I’m glad that my parents have helped me prepare healthy meals!!!
Currently, I just finished my “induction” phase which was all October. I was on steroids for 30 days, I got spinal taps w/chemo, chemotherapy every Thursday, and lots of rest. The first month was pretty rough as I had little energy, my fingertips went numb, and I had lots of stomach issues from the steroids and chemotherapy. There are so many side effects that come with chemo I didn’t even know about. The good thing is is that this cancer is CURABLE AND TREATABLE!!! and I will be okay after treatment which is a blessing.
I want to say thank you to all of my family and friends who have been there to support me. Those of you who have called, posted, text messages, stopped by, donated on my GoFundMe, bought bracelets, bought #alexbluestrong merch, and checked in on me. THANK YOU! I wouldn’t be this strong without you all. I love to hear from every one of you — especially on my hard days, you all make me smile.
I have realized that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!!! + you never know how strong you’re until you have to be. I never would’ve thought this would be my journey but I am so thankful to be surrounded by so much love and support.
I decided to share my story and my journey because I want to share how raw and how real cancer is and how it may take a toll on someone’s life. I want to inspire and to share positivity and to share that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and this is just a stomp in the road that won’t last forever. I am a firm believer and I always have said “thank God even on the bad days.” I have also gotten the question “why would God do this to such a sweet, God-loving, young woman?” but I realized that God knew that I would be able to handle this battle and He would be right next to me through it all and He has been.