Wow. My cancer story…
I was the girl that was always just a bit sick growing up. I graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, but that summer I just kept feeling sicker and sicker. I moved home in July when they finally figured out that I had stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Six months of treatment and on with my life!
I worked several jobs as I gained energy back, but my most fun was being a metalsmith. However, in 2018 I started running high fevers again. After several months in the hospital with recurrent Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, doctors finally decided a stem cell transplant was my best bet, which I received in January of 2019.
Then that summer, thinking I was again in remission, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Since then, I have continued treatments to keep it at bay. I don’t have a specific remission anniversary date because of this, which is sometimes frustrating when sharing my story; everyone asks, “how long have you been cancer free?!”
Since all this initial nonsense, I have been hospitalized several times with severe near-death sepsis due to a lowered immune system. I deal with side effects and aftereffects of treatment and medications every single day. But through all of this, I have learned to look at cancer as a gift, because it has taught me to embrace every moment.
Since I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, I try to take advantage of the days or even hours that I feel well. By doing so I have found my true passion in life, dog grooming! My amazingly supportive husband and I spent a long time asking, what will make me happy in between my hospital-vacations? The answers were doggies and art.
After several years of networking and growing with the support of family and friends, I have successfully opened my own business out of my house for grooming! I work with my clients closely and they all know my story and support me on my ‘tired days’. I take time to have coffee with friends, play games, and go on new adventures. But I also take time for baths, naps, good food, and cuddles with my furkids.
I have learned that you don’t have to do great things every moment, but every moment is an opportunity to smile, love, laugh, and have joy. And it is those moments that make a life of greatness.
By: Laura Sims