Throughout October, Newyorkislanders.com will share stories submitted by our fans who have survived cancer. Today we meet Stefanie, who survived Hodgkin's Disease and Myelogenous Leukemia, and has been cancer-free for 16 years. To submit your own personal survivor story for our blog, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
At 11: I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin's Disease and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. After a year of treatment at Cohen Children’s Medical Center and home tutoring, I resumed school with my same-aged classmates. One year later, when I turned 13 years old, I was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. I underwent more chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and had a Bone Marrow Transplant for which my youngest sister, Danielle, was a perfect match. I was cured and have been cancer-free for 16 years.
At 28: I am currently working on my dissertation, which examines the health behavior choices of childhood cancer survivors. After this, I will have completed my PhD in psychology from Fordham University. This winter celebrates 16 years of good health since my Bone Marrow Transplant. Every time I hear the story of a young person's cancer experience in my research, I am reminded of how fortunate I was to have such a strong and dedicated team of doctors at CCMC; and still do, as a patient of the Survivors Facing Forward Program. Transitioning from "cancer patient" to "cancer survivor" was a long and important process for me, and I've learned to appreciate all the good that comes with this hard-earned title.