I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this message that will help you relate to the importance of supporting others during a life-altering disease.
The above picture is a very recent photo of myself and if I did not mention to you that physically and psychologically I am battling against the post effects of cancer you would not have the slightest idea. From my initial diagnosis until now, one of the most frequent comments stated is “You look great… how could this be that you are so sick?”
Lymphoma is amongst a multitude of diseases known as “Silent Killers” due to the fact that the signs and symptoms may be vague or not noticed right away. For example, my initial sign and symptoms were chronic fatigue (over 4 to 6 months) that turned into physical weakness and shortness of breath on exertion, hair loss (Alopecia), dry cough, tongue pain and later on developed night sweats. I only started to feel very ill when the disease had spread throughout my body creating other signs and symptoms to signal that my body was undergoing some sort of attack. My diagnosis was made at a late stage 3B/4 and might have been caught earlier.
It is important for you to understand that disease or illnesses do not necessarily have a particular “look” or appearance. In addition, a disease will not necessarily have a clear set of signs and symptoms during its initial stages. Furthermore, diseases will effect individuals differently which adds to the complexity in finding a correct diagnosis. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has transformed my life and has shifted my purpose towards promoting awareness about diseases that can affect both you and your loved ones.
Interestingly enough, even as an active health care professional, I was not taken seriously, neither was I given all the options, tools, requested examinations and support needed to pull through this difficult time. In addition, my age and the type of work I did made physicians lean constantly towards depression and stress related illness. After being misdiagnosed constantly, I had to develop the will and attitude to fight to find answers and to become an advocate for my own health. Finally (or Fortunately), a physician from Internal medicine took my case seriously and I give credit to him for saving my life and preparing me for the worst.
I do not expect everyone to have the strength, attitude and will as I have to continue to fight during a weakened state. Therefore, it is important to help others, to support them. The goal may not be to be cured. But to make sure their spiritual and mental health is maintained throughout their struggles. It is important to help others by supporting a just cause and get involved to give strength and hope; in assisting and coaching so they have the confidence to push forward and put up their best fight.
I bring forth a unique and highly influential organization, OYCC. Our mission and “raison d’être” is to touch each individual directly by catering to the spiritual needs of those who have been touched by cancer. We will not give up our vision!
To conclude, please be aware of your health and the changes occurring within your body. Please continue standing up and supporting others in their own health struggles. I wish you all and your loved ones the very best of health.
Dr. Oxford York, Ph.D,
Founder and President of OYCC