Lauren was 23 years old when diagnosed with stage 2A lymphoma. She had just finished university and like many young Canadians, embarked on a European adventure before starting her career.
By fall, she was back home, working full time but feeling run down. Assuming it was an iron deficiency, she tried supplements but as time went on, got weaker and weaker. “Eventually I ended up at Mount Sinai for tests. I never thought for a second it would be anything serious and hadn’t even heard of lymphoma… when the doctor said the ‘c’ word my entire world froze” she remembers.
Lauren was immediately referred to The Princess Margaret and that winter, she started eight rounds of chemotherapy–lasting six hours each–until the end of March. “Chemo is just as bad as everyone says it is. I lost most of my hair, experienced numerous side effects and dropped 5 pounds in 3 days.” She then welcomed a short break before an intensive month of radiation.
Things got real for Lauren during treatment, she’ll never forget the “snorkel-like” apparatus that helped oncologists keep her heart safe during radiation and still has six teeny tiny pin marks on her chest that she is considering turning into a tattoo. “The scariest part was watching friends begin careers and enjoy life while I was going to bed worried that I may never wake up.” she recalls.
Almost in year five of remission, Lauren is hyper aware of her body and often finds herself asking “is it back?”, feeling especially uneasy with the rise of COVID-19.
Today, Lauren works as a Creative Services Coordinator at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, managing timelines and creative workflow for some of the biggest fundraising events in the country. She feels lucky to work with the many likeminded people who show up each day to help drive the research behind the very treatments she received. “I’m so grateful to The Princess Margaret for not only saving my life, but for allowing me to look forward to many, many happy years to come.”