Tanna Jellison, diagnosed at 20

I had mono my freshman year in college. During that time the lymph nodes in my neck were swollen really badly and the one on the right side of my neck stayed swollen for many months after I recovered. I would always play with the bump in my neck and never really thought anything of it.

In the middle of my sophomore year of college I noticed that it started to get bigger, but I was busy, working two jobs and taking classes full time so I didn’t get it checked. I mentioned it to my parents and they both said it was probably nothing, maybe just some fluid. I really didn’t have any of the symptoms I thought people were supposed to experience when they have cancer. I was tired, but not more than normal; I wasn’t losing weight and I didn’t have a fever.

Eventually, I just had a gut feeling though that it wasn’t normal to have a bump in my neck, growing every day. So I went to the doctor, and in a week’s time I was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma. I was definitely shocked and it was really hard to adjust to having cancer at 20 years old.

I’m glad I got checked when I did because it could have spread to more of my lymph nodes or my blood very easily. When you feel uncertain about something that is health related you shouldn’t think of excuses to not get checked. I was busy and didn’t have the time to face what was going on in my body, but thankfully I made the time and it saved my life.


  • large lymph nodes in neck