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Finding Laughter in the Dark Moments

Hello, my name is Renee. I am 32 years old and I'm from Lompoc, California. I was diagnosed with localized soft tissue Ewings Sarcoma of the neck on Dec. 16, 2017 at 31. I was living in Las Vegas, Nevada when I first discovered the tumor, working as an Assistant Property Manager for a Commercial Real Estate company. I was starting to travel and having the time of my life when three little words change my life forever: You have cancer! My whole life was ripped away from me in a matter of seconds. I had surgery to remove a portion of my tumor and immediately began a very aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. I was lucky to have caught it early where the tumor is only localized and had not metastized.

Part of my journey which I have openly shared has been to inform people of how I discovered my tumor and how important it is to listen to your body and be your own advocate when it comes to your health.

It took me almost year and a lot of persistence and fighting on my part to get diagnosed. I was misdiagnosed and went through several doctors who would not listen to me, but I knew my body and I knew something was not right.

It's been eight months into my treatment now. I have done seven rounds of intense chemotherapy, 31 rounds of radiation and over 6 hospital stays including the ICU. I have continued to have a positive outlook despite my circumstances and have had some pretty humorous moments in between.

As many cancer patients know, chemotherapy is so hard on the body and the pain can be so intense. I find myself going neutropenic (low blood counts) every time. As I found myself right back in the ER for the umpteenth time, I have to be transported by ambulance to larger hospital about 45 minutes away. Now I’m usually pretty lucky to have a couple cute EMT guys who are not bad to look at -- and let me tell you something, I may have been sick, puking and on IV drugs, but I am never to sick to flirt!

But on this particular ambulance ride I got a couple of older gentleman. Super nice guys. About 20 minutes into the ride I see these two large speakers in front of me on the door in the back of the van. All of the sudden they start blasting country music and singing!! Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against country music but when I’m sick as s***, puking and high as heck on dilaudid that’s the last thing I want to hear.

I mean let’s play some soothing Enya or something try to promote some healing for crying out loud. I’m like are you trying to kill your patients. Usually the ride is quiet. I was giggling so hard inside, I was like “Jesus take me now!" Lol.

Everyone laughed so hard when I told that story.

I will tell you this, if I couldn’t find laughter in the darkest of moments, I would not be able to get through this. Cancer can take a lot from you. It can put your body through hell, but it can never take my spirit!

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