Before You Read:
- My name is Abby Army
- I am 17 years old
- I was diagnosed with cancer in September 2014 (Ewing’s Sarcoma in my soft tissue)
- I love dogs, reading, and make up
- My mom and sister are the biggest and best influences in my life (read: I talk a lot about them)
Whenever people ask me about my cancer story, part of me always cringes. Not because it’s a horrific story, but because you can’t really say, “I woke up one morning and got diagnosed with cancer.” I started this blog to describe how I’m coping, funny incidents, and the different ways I keep my spirits up. But as with every story, you must have some background first.
My “Cancer Story”
In February of 2013, I injured my shoulder one night at dance. That December, when I brought up the fact that my shoulder still hadn’t healed, my doctor told me it was only stress. “You’re a sixteen year old high school student, it’s practically impossible for you not to be stressed.”
Fast forward nine months of pretty much constant complaining about the pain in my shoulder and arm, to the night of September 2, 2014. I had a regular day, but I was still getting used to the combination of work and school. After about an hour and a half of tossing and turning, the pain in my shoulder finally reduced me to tears. I got up and went to talk to my mom, begging her for some sort of pain relief. She reassured me that the next morning she would make a doctor’s appointment so I could finally get my shoulder “fixed.”
The next morning, I stayed home from school, and waited to go to the doctor. Once we got there, we were sent back to an exam room. After close examination of my neck and shoulder, the doctor called in another one of the practitioners. They discussed some options and finally decided that they were going to send me to my local hospital. Six hours and a CAT scan later, we were sent home to wait for results. Before we left, the doctors told us to be on lookout for their call with potential results. We left the hospital and immediately went to Friendly’s since we hadn’t eaten all day.
Later that night, my mom got a call from my pediatrician. She came out minutes later, telling me that we had to make the nearly two-hour drive to Hershey. They found some abnormalities in my scans that gave them reason to think that I could have lymphoma. Once we got to Hershey, we were sent up to a room where I was weighed, measured, and asked a series of questions about my shoulder and arm.
Our first visit to Hershey lasted three days. During that time, I had a CT scan, an MRI, and a biopsy. The two scans showed that it wasn’t lymphoma, but it was a tumor, what they kept calling it was a “lobulated mass.” My mom described what it looked like on the screen was one of those giant flowers that a four year old draws. They decided that a biopsy was the next logical step to take.
After the biopsy, we were sent home on the promise that we would hear from them within the week. My mom talked to one of her doctor friends and they said that the closer to a week it was, the better the chance that the tumor would be benign.
Lo and behold, four days later we got a call from Hershey. The tumor was, in fact, malignant. My mom arranged for our next visit to Hershey, this time with the whole family. My doctor described to us that my cancer was Ewing’s Sarcoma in my soft tissue. She said that while Ewing’s wasn’t necessarily a rare cancer for children and teens, soft tissue Ewing’s isn’t very common. They said due to the way that Ewing’s advances, we should start with chemotherapy as soon as possible. On September 23, 2014 I went in to the surgery unit to get my port put in. After my port was put in, I started my first round of chemo. Two weeks later, I lost my hair, which I had dyed blue in celebration. Up until recently, I wasn’t able to complete any chemo outpatient due to the extreme side effects.
Nearly six months, fifty-nine days of chemo, and thirty-one radiation treatments later, we’ve reached present day. I’m still able to do the things I want (like going prom dress shopping, hang out with friends, and prep for my APs, SATs, and ACTs), but I also have to be careful when it comes to social events due to how low chemo makes one’s immunity.
Long story short, my social worker/doctor/therapist/everyone told me that writing would help to express my emotions. I decided that this blog will encompass makeup tutorials, fashion choices, updates on treatment, and general life stories. I genuinely hope you like reading this, because I think I’m really going to enjoy writing it.
Hope you’re well,