Holly Ashford

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I never thought I would have ever been the 1 in 2 diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. However, at the age of 22, I found myself in the doctors' office hearing those three words, "You have Cancer". At the time I had just returned to work from maternity leave and was starting with management in my career.

My first symptom came a few months before diagnosis. A pain in my jaw when I would drink any alcohol. Once I had my impacted wisdom teeth removed, which on hindsight was probably not actually causing the issue with the pain, it took many more months to heal than usual for most patients.

April of 2011 I was coughing on and physically sick daily. Still working and trying to take care of my 8-month-old daughter. I, being stubborn, had finally visited the doctor who prescribed bronchitis medication in hopes this would help. It took another 6 weeks before he sent me for a CT scan when I did not get better.

I was diagnosed with rapid growing cancer called Hodgins Lymphoma Stage 2. It was a cancer of the immune system and developed through my lymph nodes around my heart, lungs and esophagus. Fortunately, there had been medical break throughs and prognosis was good. Not at all easy journey for anyone.

I had biopsy in June and started treatment in August. From that time it grew from a golf ball to baseball in size I was told. They had also just caught before it started to spread.

Though it was very hard going threw Chemotherapy and Radiation at such a young age, it has taught me the value of each day and not to take health for granted. To help others through their struggles has been also at the fore front for me. I valued my daughter whose positivity of being so young helped me through my daily treatments and my overall well being during treatment.

July 19th 2012 I officially had PET scan and was considered in remission by the summer after 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 3 weeks of radiation.

Before going back to work I did have a fundraiser for the Walker Family Cancer Center as that was in development stages during my treatment.

Given my new lease on life after that point changed my perspective on life and what is valued most to me. Family and friends more than anything. Just being present really make a  (Cont'd at Right)

difference. Its hard and I know more than anything how hard it is  to see someone you love to go through terrible sickness and pain, to talk about it. Hope more than anything and keeping a strong attitude makes a huge difference 

As, an insurance advisor, I now try to help others with how life and health insurance is of great importance to consider for their future both physically and financially. Helping other through my experience to know that there are ways to protect yourself and the ones you love for future health concerns.

I also help others through out the community though volunteer work and am a Proud WARRIOR of TNLA TEAM Niagara an organization that helps combat social isolation when it comes to undergoing treatment and ways in the future to bring awareness of lymphoma.

Through this journey I have learned how important it is to accept the whole you even the part that that doesn't feel like putting on a happy face when you  would rather be giving Cancer  a good old tongue lashing or even ask "Why Me?!" It can take it so it is good to share even your fear feelings in a safe environment.

Find out more about Holly Ashford by visiting her Website, Following her on FacebookLinkedIn, She is ALSO a Proud WARRIOR/Member of TNLA TEAM NIAGARA where NO ONE who has any form of Lymphoma Fights Alone (Founded & Ran by Tiffany Aello)

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