Brianna Apruzzese, diagnosed at 23

My health before diagnosis was perfect.

I had only one warning sign, which I didn’t realize was much of anything — and that was extreme itching. The itching was very uncomfortable, but I didn’t know that it was a symptom of cancer.

While I was away in Nashville, I noticed a new lump on my chest. It was the lump that made me realize something was wrong.

“…a cancer diagnosis is scary, and it’s life-changing, but you just need to keep going, and be positive, and keep your eyes on the prize.”

From finding the lump until diagnosis took about two weeks. Before landing at a research hospital in Boston, I was at two other facilities. Spending five nights at the hospital was not what I was expecting that weekend!

The first hospital where I was admitted mentioned that this might be a rare kind of lymphoma, which scared me the most! However, it turned out to be Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which made me the most relieved I could be in that moment. We were strangely “excited” that it was something with such a high cure rate.

My advice for others who may read my story is that a cancer diagnosis is scary, and it’s life-changing, but you just need to keep going, and be positive, and keep your eyes on the prize.

Symptoms

  • extreme itching
  • lump on chest