I snagged the above cool icon from the Patients Against Lymphoma‘s Facebook page. I can’t let the first day of September begin without acknowledging a cause very near and dear to my heart: lymphoma. (Because September is National Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month.)
LYMPHOMA & ME
On the About page I used to have a more in-depth explanation about how a trip to the emergency room ended with a four day stay in the hospital where I underwent a battery of tests before I was finally diagnosed with Stage 2 B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma on December 31, 2008. I was initially given a 50-50 chance of survival. Not bad odds, but I wanted better.
The first question I asked my oncologist after he gave me and my husband the news was: “What can I do to help myself beat this?”
He said, “The people I see who do the best are the ones who get off the couch as much as possible. Who keep trying to live as normal a life as possible and don’t wallow in being sick.”
I was unfortunately sidelined to the couch the first couple of months. First due to the grapefruit size tumor in my chest causing me excruciating pain that had me zonked out on morphine. Then from adverse reactions to the chemo.
But during my couch phase I’d plan how I wanted to change my life around.
NO HAUNT JAUNTS IF NOT FOR LYMPHOMA
I’d had the idea for Haunt Jaunts for a while, but not as a blog. Once I got the idea to do that, though, Haunt Jaunts became my “get off the couch” project as I underwent chemo and radiation.
In a weird way, cancer almost killing me ended up saving my life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until the day I’ll die: lymphoma was one of the best things to ever happen to me. If I hadn’t stared Death in the eyes, Haunt Jaunts would surely still just be something I might do someday.
But look at Haunt Jaunts now. Here’s just some of the things that’s come from the creation of Haunt Jaunts:
- I’ve made an array of awesome new friends who I admire very much, including, but not limited to (and in no particular order), such paranormal community superstars as Jessica from Ghost Stories and Haunted Places, Mommy D of the Weekly Spectre, Linda Moffitt, Chad of ChateauGrrr, Nathan from A State of Mind, Brooke (and gang) from SCARED!, Jason from The Occult Section, Javier from GhostTheory, Peter from Ask Doc Paranormal, Andrea from Ghost Stories, Julie from Above the Norm, the Frog Queen of Frog on the Pumpkin, Brenda the Heart Centered Psychic, Steve and Angie from Ghost Eyes, Autumnfotest from Ghost Hunting Theories, Michelle and Joey from Guy & Girl Travels, all those who make up Southern Ghosts, and the lovely Lisa from Wanderlust Women.
- All the paranormal enthusiast friends I’ve made, and continue to make, on Facebook and Twitter, like Jen Blaney, Syd Southworth, Rachel Ruiz, Rozanne Womer, Monica Robayo, and Marilyn Biersdorff just to name a few.
- Haunt Jaunts’ Facebook page, which today soared passed 200 people “liking” it. (It’s now been thumbed-up by a mind-boggling 242 people! Mind-boggling to me, at any rate. A year ago I had a whopping 4 fans, including myself. I was hoping just to get to 50. But 242? What a blessing! Thank you to everyone who took the time to “like” HJ this past year!)
- Haunt Jaunts’ over 1,800 Twitter followers. (Again, I reluctantly began Tweeting last September, not having any idea all the amazing people and connections I would make via that crazy social network. I love it!)
HAUNT JAUNTS SUPPORTS THE LYMPHOMA RESEARCH FOUNDATION
As you might have surmised by the ads I run on my blog, I’m a for-profit kind of blogger. I haven’t exactly made money from those ads just yet, but if I ever do a portion of any money earned will go to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
That hasn’t stopped me from donating to them a couple of times over the course of the past year, though. Once as a part of HJ’s one year anniversary celebrations, and again to match ChateauGrrr’s “Cruise Against Lymphoma” contribution.
I’d be highly remiss in my advocacy if I didn’t include links for those who might be interested in donating to one of the organizations that help all those affected by this kind of cancer.