This incredible survivor, Jessi Decristofaro, 23, went through cancer beginning at the age of 20, and started blogging about her journey for everyone to see. Now, she’s got a huge following, and has provided a community for thousands of cancer survivors like herself.
“Sometimes remission is harder than actual cancer. You’re life was on hold for this long period of time. And now, you live from doctors visit to doctors visit to make sure you’re okay. So it’s really hard and a lot of people just don’t understand unless they’ve been through it themselves,” she told SurvivorNet in an interview about her motivation to communicate with others who have been through cancer.
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Information about Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Unlike leukemia, which is a disease that results from too many white blood cells, lymphomas are white blood cell cancers that form tumors in the lymphatic system. “Quiet literally, lymph is lymphatic system -phoma means tumors, so lymphoma is white blood cell cancer that forms tumors in the lymphatic system,” Dr. Peter Martin at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian, told SurvivorNet. “This is opposed to leukemia, which is too many white blood cells, typically in the bone marrow or blood stream. Lymphomas, specifically, are white blood cell cancers that form tumors in the lymphatic system.” Dr. Martin was not referring specifically to Wilson’s case.
Within lymphoma, there are Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s cases. “Hodgkins lymphoma is simply a white blood cell cancer that has a very specific sub-type of white blood cells seen in those tumors called Reed-Sternburg cells or Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells,” says Dr. Martin.
In 2019, there will be about 8,110 new cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed, and about 1,000 deaths due to the disease. Young people and adults can get Hodkin’s Lymphoma, but it’s most common in young adults before the age of 20. The risk rises again after age 55.
Jessi’s cancer journey
Jessi found out she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma about three years ago. “I found out in February of 2016 I was misdiagnosed for years,” Jessi said in the interview. “I went to ten different doctors, they thought I had allergies, acid reflex, muscle strains, they just said it was a mix of all these different things, and couldn’t really tell me.”
Eventually, Jessi ended up in urgent care, which led her to the ER. “I ended up in one emergency room, where they said they couldn’t treat me, and said I’d have to go on hospice.”
Her mom was not going to settle for that option, and had her transferred to another cancer center where they were they able to treat her. “I was in and out of consciousness, and didn’t really know what was going on,” Jessi said of that time.
Once she was in the second hospital, Jessi was rushed to the ICU and started chemo that night. “You don’t really have time to process it, you just have to do what you have to do,” she said.
When asked about her reasoning for starting a cancer blog, Jessi talked a lot about her experience right after she was diagnosed, “When I was diagnosed, I used Google, I tried to find blogs of other people my age going through the same thing. I wasn’t a big Instagram user at the time. I just couldn’t find anyone who was going through the same thing, so I thought I was totally alone,” Jessi said.
She said that even though she felt shy at first, she knew she had to share her story so that others going through cancer might have a resource to feel a little less lonely, “As crazy as it seems Im a very very private person, so going public was very hard for me, but I knew I had to do it, because there are so many other people going through what I was and they probably felt alone like me.”
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With a very grateful ???? today. Happy #nationalcancersurvivorsday to everyone, even those of us that are still fighting ‘cause if you’re still fighting, you’re surviving. Cheers to another day of health, LIFE, good cells, good vibes, and never taking anything for granted. For those that have had to fight for it, life is SO much more meaningful. ????????♀️????✨#fuckcancer #9livesbitches
And she also said that the process of getting her thoughts down on the page was a helping coping tool while she went through her journey, “And for me it just helped me to write it down. It was like a form of therapy for me.”
By talking about her story openly, Jessi has entered a community of survivors, who all when through treatment around the same time. “The majority of my really close friends I actually met on Instagram through my journey,” she said. “There is a group of people who we all went through treatment together, and I was actually in one of the girl’s weddings!”