Annual Gala Allstar

Chari Addison

The end of 2016 beginning of 2017 I began to feel ill. I went to the doctor and still no relief. Towards the end of February my symptoms began to get worse. They consisted of nightly night sweats, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue. My mom and husband insisted I go to the ER and eventually I gave in to their wishes. When I got there my blood was so low, I had to receive blood infusions followed by several test ordered by Dr. Stokes that led to an overnight stay in ICU. I still had no idea what was wrong with me.

The following morning Dr. Gaddis came in to speak with my husband and I. He mentioned my diagnosis by saying you have lymphoma. I didn’t freak out at that moment because I had never heard this word in all my 30+ years of life. He continued on to say that it was a type of cancer. This is when my husband and I lost it. We screamed, we cried, I called out to God why me? I hated cancer so much. I lost my dad to cancer so in that moment, I just assumed my life was over and I was going to die and leave my husband, my children, my family and friends. The doctor stepped out to give us a moment to try and process everything.

The news spread like wildfire. So many of my family members, church members, and friends came in and prayed over me while I laid in the hospital bed in disbelief. When the doctor came back, he already had news that he had gotten me in at MD Anderson in Houston, TX at the lymphoma clinic with Dr. Lee, but I had to leave right away and be there for the next morning. My husband and family got me and our children packed up and we all headed straight to Houston along with my mom, aunt and some others. Of course, I didn’t sleep any once we arrived at the hotel because I was ready for the next morning to figure out what my next steps were. I arrived at MD Anderson for my appointments and met with the doctor. For about two weeks I was back and forth to Houston for several test so that we could get a treatment plan set. If I can remember correctly, it was on a Thursday evening, I was at home lying in bed looking at the walls still in shock when my phone rang.

It was Dr. Lee calling to confirm that I had Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the cancer was in multiple places and that I needed to be in Houston the next day. I called my husband and my mom and we all headed to there. On that very ride, I prayed to God and asked if it is his will that I wanted to beat this cancer. ride, I prayed to God and asked if it is his will that I wanted to beat this cancer. I decided I was going to have faith that all will be well. Once there, other issues aroused and I had to be admitted to the hospital. I was able to have my first chemotherapy treatment that Saturday. For 6 months every two weeks, we traveled to Houston for my treatments. There were many lows in that timeframe, but the most important high is that I was able to beat this ugly disease. I am currently 5 years in remission and I thank God every day for life and the ability to be healthy once again. I am forever grateful to the many people who prayed for me and supported me on this journey! Many times, I have had flashbacks of that time in my life and that’s when I say “Thank you Lord, I’m not where I was!” When I have the chance to encourage others in their cancer journey, I tell them to have faith and fight! For the Bible says, “for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20


Annual Gala Allstars