How a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis changed my career path

I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to be a doctor, just like my father. So when I got into medical school, I was thrilled to start down my chosen career path. Early on, I dreamt of having a small town family practice. I wanted to know everyone and take care of them as the town doctor. But a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis changed those plans. A Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis I found out I had cancer just three months into medical school. At the time, we were studying the lymphatic system of the chest. As do many medical students, I examined myself to see what healthy lymph nodes felt like. When I found one that seemed to be swollen, I panicked a little, then tried to dismiss it. I was a bit of a hypochondriac after studying diseases. I lived with my swollen lymph node for another month. Then I went home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, for the weekend. My dad insisted on taking me to a local hospital for a chest X-ray and some bloodwork. That’s when a doctor discovered the mass in the middle of my chest. A biopsy revealed it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment begins for ‘the cancer kid’ To say I was stunned is an understatement. Fortunately, I was able to start treatment immediately. I went through chemotherapy and radiation during my first year of medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. My family, professors and classmates were incredibly helpful and understanding. That was good, because I experienced many of the same side effects that other cancer patients do — including...