My Story of Survivorship with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – Michele Cerami

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Michele Cerami
February 8, 2019

When I was a young child I always knew that I wanted to secure a position in the healthcare field. I thought about becoming a Social Worker, Psychologist, and even a Police Officer.  I also knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world and serve others.  When I graduated high school, I went directly to community college in Queens, New York for a year.  Even at the young and tender age of 18, I did not have much direction in my life at that time.  Fortunately, I was able to secure a Government position and worked in that field for 10 years when I decided to resign in 2000.  I had my son in July of 2000, and I was blessed that I was able to be a stay at home mother and take care of him while my husband worked.

In October of 2000, I found a lump (lymph node) in my right groin area and went to my primary care physician before Thanksgiving. When I initially found the lump, I knew right away that I had cancer.  It was just a knowing that I had deep down in my heart.  When I went to my primary care physician he examined me and quickly made an emergency appointment for an ultrasound of my pelvis.  I am so grateful that my doctor sent me immediately because when the results came back, the lymph node was growing at a rapid pace.  Shortly after this, my primary care doctor had referred me to a surgeon and the surgeon scheduled the surgery to have my right lymph node removed and biopsied.  Unfortunately, the test results came back positive for cancer, and I knew that it would.

I was then referred to an Oncologist in my neighborhood and had to have a CBC (Complete Blood Count) performed.  When those results came back my WBC (White Blood Count) was 14,000.  My Oncologist had scheduled me for a bone marrow aspiration to be performed in his office.  With all of my cancer treatments that I had to endure, this aspiration was the most difficult for me.  Even though my Oncologist gave me a local, I still felt the pain.  Even though the pain only lasted about two minutes, I have to say that those two minutes were vital to my treatments.  Before I began my chemotherapy in January 2001, I had to have a bone scan and a CT (Catscan), to ensure that the cancer did not spread to any other part of my body.  After all of the tests came back, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Stage 1, Large Diffuse B Cell.  The protocol for treatment was as follows: three months of CHOP therapy and four weeks of radiation.

And here I am, 18 years later and I am a survivor!  Once I finished my treatments, I decided to go back to school online with SUNY Empire State College in 2004 and had acquired my Bachelors in Community & Human Services, and graduated in May 2013.  Since I loved healthcare so much and wanted to serve others for my best and highest good, I then decided to pursue my Masters in Healthcare Administration Management with Southern New Hampshire University and graduated in January 2016.  In addition to this, I was employed in the hospital sector as an ER Concierge and as an ER Discharge Clerk.  On July 11, 2018, I decided to build my business online as a Cancer Advocate specializing in cancer care because I want to advocate and support cancer patients on their journey with cancer. I may be reached at cancercarehealthconsultant.com.

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