My name is Kristin Banks, I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and I was diagnosed in March of 2006. I went through 26 weeks, 12 cycles of chemotherapy in the summer of ’06 and that did not work, then I went through 5 weeks of radiation therapy in fall of ’06 and that did not work, in spring of ’07 I started high dose chemotherapy in preparation of an autologus stem cell transplant and had my transplant in June ’07. However the transplant damaged my lungs and I have been on prednisone and oxygen since August of ’07. In February of ’08 I was having some problems again and my doctor did a CAT scan and discovered a tumor and that my lymphoma had returned. I am now undergoing chemotherapy again. I have completed 2 cycles so far and have 3 more to go before I get scanned again to see if I am in remission.

This has been a tough couple of years for me, I also had shingles, pneumonitus, bronchitis, and have been hospitalized many times, and I also fell and broke my right arm in March.

I have to say it really has been a very difficult thing to go through for my mother and myself. My mother has not been able to go to work because she has to take care of me, so financially it has completely drained us and it is a struggle to pay the rent. She has done so much for me I would like to be able to help her some way.

I used to work with children and I really miss doing that and all the other fun things I used to do, but having cancer has made me look at life a lot differently. I don’t get upset by little things anymore, I don’t worry about what my hair looks like, when I see others getting upset by little things I just want to let them know that life is too short and to appreciate the things they have. I am more grateful for everything in my life and I do appreciate the people and things I have in my life more than ever. I have always tried to keep a positive attitude and smile even though I want to cry, (smiling feels better). I have become stronger mentally and physically than I ever thought possible.

Kristin Banks