Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of stories on area cancer survivors as the date nears for the 2013 Relay For Life at James B. Abraham Stadium in Lonoke. The event starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26. It concludes at 6 a.m. Saturday, April 27.
My name is Angela (Angie) Flynn. I am an eight-month survivor of cancer.
On Aug. 13, 2012, I was diagnosed with Lymphoma- Non Hodgkin’s Follicular. In the spring and summer of 2012 I was suffering from allergy symptoms – the usual that everyone has – runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. I was also tired a lot; I associated the tiredness with a new job. I thought that I just had not adjusted yet.
Looking back that was probably a sign that something wasn’t right, besides the lump. I had a lump on the left side of my neck right behind my ear lobe. I assumed it was just a swollen lymph node from maybe the allergies. I went to my regular doctor and explained my symptoms. He fixed me up and said if the lump did not go away or shrink in the size in two weeks to come back in.
Needless to say the lump did not shrink at all. The doctor decided that I needed to have a CT scan done, which revealed that I had several swollen spots; they were under my arms, my abdomen, chest and some other places. I was sent to a surgeon to discuss a biopsy. The surgeon explained to my husband and me that he was 99 percent sure that the lumps were cancer but a biopsy was needed to be sure.
When you hear the word biopsy, you automatically think cancer. I was so scared especially when the surgeon said the word – CANCER. You have all types of thoughts and feelings running through your mind. You have so many questions. When the surgeon said CANCER, I think that’s all I heard. The words after that were a blur. We told the news to our family and friends. One of the toughest things that I had to do was explain to my kids. My dad passed in 2008. He had lung cancer. My children remembered that. That’s what they thought of with cancer. They were scared also.
After the biopsy and the diagnosis – I was referred to an oncologist. She was very informative. She explained that the type of cancer I have, is treatable. , I started chemotherapy treatments. I had a total of six treatments, every three weeks. Out of every three weeks I had maybe two good days. As of my last scan Jan. 3, 2013, the cancer is in remission.
When the doctor told me, streams of happiness rolled down my cheeks. I am still receiving maintenance therapy every two months. I will continue this therapy for two years. I feel so blessed beyond measure. I look at life in a different way now and I appreciate things like I never had before.
I feel that Jesus gave me the grace I needed to be strong. HE healed me and carried me when my journey was rough. My caregiver Mark and my two sons – Jarred and Colby — were there for me in every possible way.
I have been at times overwhelmed at the support, care and love that has been shown to me & my family. We are so thankful to live in such a caring community.