9/30/2020 By Jennifer Anand
I had the world by the tail- my last semester of high school, accepted into all the colleges I applied to, courting a full music scholarship from my dream school- life couldn’t be better. Then on January 10th, 2012, my world imploded when I was diagnosed with Stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Six grueling months of chemo, 14 extensive radiation treatments, and one bald head later, I celebrated my 18th birthday, my high school graduation, and the end of cancer treatments. One week later, I received my driver’s license, and two days later began my college career. I was ready to resume my life in the normal world! But on Christmas Eve 2012, I was diagnosed with a relapse. It didn’t seem possible that my life could be shattered, all over again. I was forced to drop out of college, and undergo a bone marrow transplant. I just celebrated 5-years post-transplant this March. That hasn’t been the end of my journey though. I’ve been in and out of the hospital and ICU with pneumonia, collapsed lungs, heart malfunctions, hemolytic anemia, and more. I face the daily battle of diabetes and joint pains. I’ve had to redo all my baby shots. But I’ve graduated college, on-time. I fulfilled my dream of becoming an engineer. I have a great job with managers that support me. And I’m in the process of buying my first house! Cancer won’t win in my life!
GRYT is auditioning on the piano and violin for a full scholarship, even when Vincristine won’t let you feel anything in your fingertips. Because cancer can’t take away my passion for music.
GRYT is taking Chemistry 2 in the hospital during a bone marrow transplant, and getting a B-! Because cancer can’t take away my academic aspirations.
GRYT is starting an internship two weeks after being released from the hospital for a bone marrow transplant. Because cancer can’t control my life.
GRYT is dropping out a semester of college and being hospitalized throughout college, and STILL graduating on time. Because cancer can’t hold me back.
GRYT is working a full-time job that you never thought you would be able to do. Because cancer can’t stop me from achieving my dreams.
Editor’s Note: Jennifer has since continued to get busy living! She switched jobs to a teaching role she absolutely adores, memorialized 10 yrs since her initial diagnosis, wears an insulin pump for her Type 1 diabetes, and has moved to the Boston area on the next stop in her life adventures. She loves staying connected in the AYA Cancer Community and is very involved with the Steven G AYA Cancer Research Foundation.