Meet multiple major Cancer Grad, Stayc Sharrow Simpson
Name: Stayc Sharrow Simpson
Age at Enrollment: 1st cancer-30 2nd-42 3rd-44
Majors: 1st-Hodgkin's lymphoma stage 4 terminal, 2nd-pre breast(early detection for the win-), 3rd skin cancer-basal cell Carcinoma stage 3
Check out our #WisdomWednesday with Stayc!
What were the primary symptoms you experienced prior to diagnosis? None for all 3
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor?
1st- minor car accident made me go to find out if i had whiplash. ER doctor came back with chest and neck X-rays and told me I would be staying awhile. All you could see were large spaces of black on the X-rays.
2nd- regular mammogram came back positive for a lump. Went back for ultrasound and my Dr did a needle biopsy. Results came back pre-cancer.
3rd- large spot on my back near one of my radiation markers. My brother took me to a dermatologist at his hospital because I wouldn't make an appointment. Ugh.
1st Course-Surgery---but could not remove. I had a tumor the size of my hand attached to my heart and another one that went from the top of my left shoulder, wrapping to the right shoulder and then wrapping around my neck. My trachea had been displaced so that only 1/3 was operational.
Chemo-ABVD for 6 rounds (aka 6 months). One treatment ever other week, and radiation from my stomach to my chin (front and back) daily for 3 months.
2nd Course (pre-cancer in breast)-popped that thing out with a syringe
3rd Course- One month of topical chemo daily (still made me puke and lose my hair, btw).
What was your hardest moment (or moments) and how did you you get through it/them?
All around, I did not have a lot of support from my biological family. It was always about them.
Also, I am a teacher of 2-5 year olds. I chose to teach the entire time, but I had to come up with a way to explain to small children why I had lost my hair, why I was vomiting all the time....mentally, I just didn't want to let anyone down.
My 1st cancer was so devastating, I didn't tell anyone the Dr gave me 8 weeks to live. I was terrified of saying it to anyone. Not that I was in denial- I wasn't. I knew exactly what I was facing, I just didn't want to burden anyone else.
Later on, after my 5 year graduation, my biological brother became involved with all the stuff I was doing. At first, I was touched that I had a cheerleader, but the more time we went to events, the more I realized it was about him...that really pissed me off.
My 2nd cancer, I drove myself to the procedure and drove home. No one to help or support me. My significant other told me I was a "hypochondriac and needed to get a grip, I was blowing this out proportion".
My 3rd cancer-having my ex come over every night and help apply the chemo. God love him for being there, but it was super hard to ask for help.
Any helpful (tangible) tips or tricks you discovered for dealing with your symptoms and/or cancer?
Laugh as much as you can.
Remember, your family isn't always your biological family, my friends were.
It's ok to cry, scream, throw things, feel sick and tired.
It's ok to tell people this is not about them.
NO, Im not ok.
NO, I don't want your sympathy.
Dear God, yes PLEASE clean the freaking house, make me a meal that I can't smell.
Ask for help, it's super hard to do, but It means the world to the ones that love you.
Take lots of notes or video everything!
Have a barf patrol---just saying a bucket crew helps
Learn to puke standing up in the shower, saves on clean up when you pee yourself as you are puking.
Get a fish tank---it soothes you
Make a bucket list and start checking stuff off as soon as the Dr says it's ok to play
Have as much sex as you can---showers and sex kept me awake
This is your journey...no one else can dictate how you feel. Don't let them.
How did you find joy during this experience?
LOL, Sick and demented humor!
"4 out of 5 doctors prefer Hodgkin's over the leading cancer"
"Most expensive tan and wax job"
"My Uncle Fester Halloween costume- I just wore it for a year"
A mom in parent/child class asked me about not having eyebrows. I said, "yes, you lose all your hair". Another mom asked "down there too?" I responded, "yes, everywhere- like a baby". Another mom asked, "Is the sex different?" I responded, "No, just more frequent, might as well enjoy not needing contraceptives!". I watched the only dad in class slowly walk backwards and cling to the wall!
Did you learn anything about yourself? If so, what was it? I might have fear, but I can do anything! Today is my gift and I am going to open up!
I am beautiful no matter what my shape, size, scars. I learned to love myself.