Three years ago or on February 27, 2005 to be more exact, I experienced an upheaval in my life when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.

I never thought that one day and at such a young age that I would have to face such a formidable obstacle in my life. Instead of allowing myself to be overcome by failure and fatality, I decided to fight back and hold my head up high throughout my battle.

After a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and six months of remission, I believed I had beaten the disease. However, in August 2006, I suffered a relapse. While the shock was even more profound this time around and the treatments a little more intense, I had no choice but to take the bull by the horns so that I could once again conquer my cancer. With so many things to experience and dreams to realize, I just couldn’t let go.

That’s when I met the extraordinary medical team to whom I owe my cure. My attending physician, Dr. Soulières, and the nurses were always there to give me comfort and support even in my most difficult moments. They became my second family. In their hands, I felt truly safe.

While “cancer” is a word that instills great fear in most and the treatments are physically painful to endure, I can now say that my experience has allowed me to grow from a spiritual standpoint. In just two years, I learned more about myself than I would have in ten years without my cancer. The truth is that my cancer taught me to push my limits, to become aware of my strengths and weaknesses and, most importantly, to appreciate life because it’s only when we come so close to death that we realize to what extent life is precious and fragile. That’s why I now and forever will always enjoy each moment spent with my family and friends. Without them, my battle would have been much tougher. My loved ones were a constant source of strength in my darkest days. They were my therapy. While the inner strength of a cancer patient is important throughout the healing process, family and friends also play an influential role. Simply knowing that they were thinking of me and praying for me, and that they called to ask about me, gave me even more courage because I was also fighting for them since they made me feel I was important to them.

Finally, December 17, 2006 was my day of victory. It was the day I was able to resume my normal life and continue to pursue my dreams. Today, I not only see life from a new perspective, but I embrace it with a smile each day.