09 January 2023
After finding an enlarged lymph node on her neck in 2013, Jacinta was diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
For Jacinta, 2023 marks 10 years since her life was changed forever by a blood cancer diagnosis.
“In May 2013, I found an enlarged lymph node on my neck, and soon received the shock diagnosis of stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,” said the 27-year-old from Queensland.
“There was never-ending fatigue, a foggy brain, delirium, nausea, constipation, headaches, anxiety, pain, neutropenia, fevers, skin changes, mouth ulcers, scarring, puffy steroid face and much more.”
Jacinta had to commence treatment immediately.
“Then came 20 radiation treatments that unfortunately had no effect on the subsequent tumour in my chest but left my skin red and burning. It’s still very sensitive to this day.”
Jacinta in 2013 feeling the physical effects of treatment
In November of the same year, after months of radiation and therapy, Jacinta was cancer free – and has been ever since.
Jacinta’s blood cancer experience didn’t just change her life in a negative way. She took plenty of positives from her journey. It allowed her to live life on her terms, and to identify who – and what – was important.
One of the major changes she made in her life was in her career. Jacinta decided to dedicate her life to the industry that has helped save hers by becoming a nurse.
“Getting cancer made me realise who my true friends are, what is important in life, it gave me perspective and understanding of life and death. Above all it gave me insight into the amazing nurses who are by your side every day, and I decided I no longer wanted to study psychology but become a nursing working in oncology or palliative care.”
“Now I spend my days as a nurse caring for other blood cancer patients and their families, and have seen time and time again how important the research funded by this foundation is in improving the care and treatment we deliver.”
Jacinta graduating from her nursing degree in December 2016
After her own experience, Jacinta urges anybody experiencing strange symptoms to visit their GP.
“Please be aware of any changes in your body and keep pushing your GP until you have an answer. Lumps, bumps, colour changes, or even just a ‘feeling’ you might have. Be knowledgeable.”
“Be your body’s best friend, know what is and isn’t normal for you, and be aware.”
To make her already incredible contribution to the blood cancer community even greater, Jacinta is participating in World’s Greatest Shave this March and raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.
“This is a cause very close to my heart, as a lymphoma survivor myself, and a haematology nurse, I have seen the importance of the Leukaemia Foundation’s ongoing work from both sides of the cancer experience.”
World’s Greatest Shave takes place between 15 – 19 March 2023, where Australians from all over the country will shave, cut or colour their hair to raise funds for blood cancer support and research.
By registering, you are letting Australians like Jacinta know that they aren’t alone in their journey, and that there is hope for a cure.