Who Inspires Us - Lyndsey N., Stage IV Cancer Survivor
Full disclosure, as the first post, I had to nominate one of my very best friends, Lyndsey. Lynds is one of the main reasons I started Cascata. Lynds is a fighter, a little, but mighty fighter. To watch her go through, and beat cancer, was truly an inspiration to me and so many others around her. If we could all be so lucky to have a Lyndsey in our lives, we wouldn't need anything more!
When she first began her chemo treatments, I had no idea what to send someone going through something so scary. There are never the right words to say, or actions, but you so badly want people to know you care. I honestly had no idea what to do or say. So, I began sending her flowers during her treatments. Turns out you SHOULD NOT SEND FLOWERS TO CHEMO patients. They cannot have live organisms in their rooms. Once I found this out, my first care package was sent to Lynds.
Tell us a little about who you are.
Wife + Mom + Dog Mom + CBD Advocate + Comedy Lover
What type of cancer were you diagnosed with, and when did you receive your diagnosis?
Stage 4 Germ Cell Cancer (Yolk Sac Tumor) *rare form of Ovarian Cancer. I was a month away from my 31st birthday.
How long were you in treatment? What helped keep your spirits up and gave you support during this period
Thankfully my road to recovery was shorter than most. It took me 6 months to fully recover and become cancer free. I focused on the future to keep my spirits up. I bought travel magazines to look at while in the hospital. I planned trips and took them even though not everyone agreed I should. My doctor signed off on my travel and that was all that mattered to me. I didn’t want to dwell in what I couldn’t do. There are things to still be excited about even though you're dealt a hurdle. Surround yourself with people you feel really comfortable with. And yoga, lots of yoga!
What inspires you?
Growth inspires me. I hope to keep challenging myself.
Outside of treatment, did you make any lifestyle changes?
I changed my diet. Tried to cut out sugar as much as possible. I also did daily wheatgrass shots!!
How did you feel when you were first diagnosed?
I felt scared and in shock of course.
Prior to your diagnosis, were there any signs something was wrong?
I was never checked. I had a horrible stomach pain in my lower abdomen for a few days. It progressively got worse, I could barely stand up straight. After two doctor visits, I was finally taken seriously and given an ultrasound. They saw my ovary was about to burst. They did an emergency laparoscopy to remove my right ovary and that is where the tumor was discovered. I feel like god was really watching over me with this.
What was the biggest challenge you faced once diagnosed with cancer?
My cancer was rare. Not many doctors or hospitals had seen this cancer and were not quite certain how to treat it. After two opinions and a lot of back and forth, I knew I needed to work at finding a specialist. That’s when we found Memorial Sloan Kettering. They specialize in rare cancers. If there is one thing I can stress, look for the specialists that treat your specific cancer. It can save your life. If not save your life, save your quality of life. Maybe I would still be alive if I was treated at a different hospital. But I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today with two kids and no side effects.
Do you have any advice for someone going through chemo or something similar?
My advice: You are your best advocate. Do the work, research and find the best team. You’re fighting for your life, it’s not going to be easy.
Any advice for friends and family that may need to offer support to a loved one going through a cancer diagnosis?
My advice for offering support to someone diagnosed would be to respect their boundaries while finding a way to show support. If you feel the person diagnosed is not open to visitors, leave a care package outside their door or send something in the mail. I had a lot of people ask if they could do things but it’s hard to ask for help in that moment. However, I remember the ones that just did.
Any words of wisdom for someone going through a cancer diagnosis?
Words of Wisdom – it’s cliché but you are stronger than you think you are. Fight, you can do this. Ask all the questions. Advocate for yourself and always get a 2nd and/or 3rd opinion.
Thank you so much for sharing, Lyndsey!
If you would like to nominate someone, please click HERE.