High school student, cancer survivor feels at home with Cancer Services
My name is Katherine Scully, and I am a sixteen-year-old junior at Saint Joseph’s Academy.
In May of my freshman year, I noticed a lump on my collarbone. Other than the lump, nothing seemed unusual, so I continued with my normal activities such as participating in club swimming. Over the next few weeks, the lump didn’t go away, so I was referred to a surgeon who ordered an ultrasound. The doctor told me that he was going to remove the lump because he was unsure of what it was and what caused it.
On the night of Memorial Day, my parents were called and told I had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After my parents shared the news with me, I went straight to the St. Jude affiliate clinic in Baton Rouge. Within those twenty-four hours, I learned I had cancer, underwent scans to determine what stage cancer I had and had a port placed in my chest (which is how I would receive treatment).
My treatment plan began quickly and eight weeks later, on August 2, 2018, I took my last round of chemo and began my sophomore year of high school.
One of the hardest issues I faced during my cancer journey was losing my hair. I lost a lot of it during treatment and knew my hair was about to start growing back, so I decided to shave my head 10 days after school started. The biggest adjustment I had to deal with was just how many people stare at at those who don’t have hair. I expected turned heads from children, but adults were actually more common.
During September and October, I began feeling overwhelmed by everything around me. One day I was getting treated for cancer and the next I was doing homework and taking tests, not to mention recovering. It was recommended that I talk to Whitney Craig at Cancer Services, and in our meetings, she would help me to better cope with my feelings and make me feel better.
Because of Cancer Services, I finally felt truly understood since my diagnosis. And thanks to generous donors, I had the opportunity to go to Panic! At the Disco and Justin Timberlake concerts, spend time with my family at the Baton Rouge Zoo and make friends with other teens in Baton Rouge undergoing treatment or who were in remission from their disease.
August 20, 2019, marked a milestone of being cancer-free for one year. I am so thankful to every single doctor, nurse, specialist and Cancer Services staff member that I met during my journey to beat cancer. I am also grateful for my family and friends for being so supportive. Without all of you, I don’t know how I could have accomplished what I did.
Katherine Scully is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is currently a junior attending St. Joseph’s Academy where she is on the swim team. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2018 and is currently in remission.