A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 16

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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" Kaitlan My journey began in February when I felt a lump in my throat. Several doctors later, back pain that would not go away, multi- ple biopsies, and finally an MRI, I was diag- nosed with Stage 4 Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma/Leukemia (Leukemia because there was substantial cancer present in my bone marrow) on April 20, 2011. At the time of diagnosis, I had cancer in my kid- neys, liver and spleen. I had a large tumor at the base of my throat deep into my chest. And I had a fracture in my neck from the cancer eating away at the bone. All in all, I was very sick. I was diagnosed and am being treated at UCSF. As of October 1, 2011 I have com - pleted 8 of 9 rounds of chemotherapy. On this protocol I will not need surgery or radiation. I can remember wanting to tell my best friends (Alexis, Jamie, Madelynn, and Alyssa) and boyfriend (Cody) in person, so I made my parents swear to not tell any - one but my grandparents until I could tell them in person. The 4 girls came a couple days after diagnosis and Cody came the next day. In addition, there are several others that are really special to me and have been part of this journey. From the beginning, my friends have been the best and are all very supportive. At the time of diagnosis, one of my nurses helped me explain to them that I had cancer and what that meant. I remember them being sad and scared, they all asked a lot of questions. They proceeded to decorate my room, have held numerous fundraisers, have come to visit me many 78 A Distinctive style . com Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain. ~ Vivien Greene times in the hospital and hang out with me when I am at home. I have been fortunate in that chemotherapy has not been taxing on my body. I have kept my appetite, lost little weight, and have not been nauseous. I did have one serious blood infection that really made me appreciate what nurses do that much more. The nurses are amazing!!! As for my hair, not a big deal, great not having to shave and hoping it comes back the way it was. Must say, I loved my hair! When I was first diagnosed, my hairdresser came to hospital and cut it into a short bob with enough in a ponytail to be donated to Locks of Love. Then when it began falling out, it was like having a dog on steroids, there was hair everywhere. On one of my visits home, my uncle shaved it all off. Since then I have lost my eye lashes, which I also loved, and my eye brows. For bigger events, I pencil in the eye brows and apply fake lashes, which I was accustomed to using before getting ill. I have had 3 wigs, 2 of which are too dark (I had always wanted darker hair and what better time to try it) and one that was given to me from a cancer survivor (and is my favorite!). I love my scarfs and beanies also. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to have hair back! I wanted to have portraits done and am soooo happy I did. The power of social networking is truly amazing. There is an inspirational 6-year-old boy in Colorado (fighting cancer also) — my mom connected with his mom while she was researching photographers. She then sent out a message to her social network that landed in the inbox of Marielle Hayes of Oakland, CA. Marielle took my portraits last month and made it an amazing experience for myself, Cody and my friend Alexis. Marielle is one of my favorite all time people and such an inspiration! I will be completing treatment in October and then will be going back to school in December or January. Although it's been almost 1 year since I have officially gone to school, I have been able to keep up with DANcING "

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