I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Burkitt lymphoma and so began my journey at The Valerie Fund Center in Goryeb's Children's Hospital. I felt spoiled most days, as the nurses, mind and body team, doctors and other people at the center would always go above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable, even though at that point that was impossible. They would book me massages, reiki treatments and aromatherapy sessions. I was able to play with the service dogs too. My nurses encouraged me to focus on getting better however that may have looked. My doctors rallied around me as I would shave my head and put new symbols in it every time. We would discuss my education and what I planned to do with it down the road. My team at the Valerie Center in Morristown became my best friends.
After I finished treatment, I returned to Vermont. I fought my hardest to maintain normalcy in those immediate months that followed my cancer journey. But alas, the mental struggle began, the classic post treatment questions rang clear daily, “is that a lump? Is my stomach ache from my medication or is the cancer coming back? I am so tired today, why?” and so on. Each time these questions popped up I would look through my phone for The Valerie Fund Center. I would call them and they would never question my needs, but instead calmed me down. They saw me every time I came home to NJ for the first year or so, and it was like the best reunion I could have asked for.
Now as a “true adult,” (you know, a real big girl job, my own home, my own little family, the works), I still go for my yearly visits to The Valerie Center. These visits look different as it ends up being me showing Dr. Fritz all my pictures from concerts to childbirth and everything in between as she shows me her latest hiking excursion with her own children. These doctors and social workers are my family. I rely on The Valerie Fund Center to confirm that I am in fact okay, and that I can keep going on. I work hand in hand with them to find therapists, to connect with other patients and to find the normalcy in survivorship. And now, I am working my hardest to find every way possible to donate my time and money to The Valerie Fund.
You can support, or join "All in for Annie" celebrating 10 years of remission by clicking here.