Nadine Nasralla

Nadine Nasralla

Halifax NS

My name is Nadine and I'm a blood cancer survivor. In the summer of 2017, I had finished my third year of my undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University and was enjoying my summer vacation with my boyfriend and our friends. We planned a trip to Montreal to attend the Osheaga music festival for the beginning of August and we were very excited for it. One day, I noticed small lumps and bumps popping out from the side of my neck. I went to see my family doctor, Dr. Gerges, about something unrelated and thought of mentioning them. Without trying to cause me too much worry, he said he'd like to send me for some testing. It started with blood tests and then tissue samples. I started to get worried. My biggest fear was not knowing what it could be, or worse, googling what it could be and seeing the possibilities. I remember getting the phone call from my doctor's office to let me know the results were in and the doctor wanted to see me. 

Once he found out that I was supposed to be leaving for my trip in a few days, he tried to reschedule our meeting but I was insistent, I wanted to know what it was and I wasn't leaving until he told me. When he gave me the diagnosis I wasn't surprised. I assumed the worst anyway. He told me I had a rare form of blood cancer, but what comforted me was him letting me know there is a high rate of success with chemotherapy treatments for the type of lymphoma I had, despite its rarity. He explained to me what the next steps would be and reassured me with a story of a patient of his that previously underwent chemotherapy for lymphoma years ago and she was now healthy and married with children, living a happy life. That brought me so much hope and I was able to enjoy my trip even more, at least knowing what was going on inside my body. 

I began chemotherapy treatment that September at the VG hospital under the care of Dr. Alsawy and his team, who were great. I had just begun the fall semester of my fourth year of my undergraduate program. Although I was afraid that I was not going to graduate on time, I did not stop attending classes, despite the recommendations from everyone 'not to exhaust myself.' I wanted to go to law school one day and I didn't want to allow cancer to derail my future career plans. There were good days and bad days. The further my treatment progressed, the fewer courses I was able to take. Thankfully my professors were very accommodating. My family and friends were my biggest support, especially my boyfriend, now my fiance. Even though we had been dating for less than one year, he stepped up and became my care-taker. My parents lived out-of-town and I lived alone, so he drove me to all my surgeries, chemotherapy sessions, bloodwork, and check-ups. He made sure I ate well and slept and comforted me when I faced difficulties with both my physical and mental health during the treatment. 

During my treatment, a family member of mine created a Light the Night team for me. That was my first introduction to the LLSC. It felt so heartwarming to have the support of my family and friends at the Light the Night walk and join a community for others affected by blood cancers. After receiving twelve rounds of ABVD chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I rang the bell on March 1, 2018 and kept moving forward. I eventually completed my studies and earned my credits to graduate, albeit later than anticipated, and got accepted into law school. I have since graduated and have begun my legal career while planning my wedding for this summer. My scars faded and my hair grew back, but what was left was the gratefulness I had for my support systems, including this organization. I hope that my story can inspire others to have pride in their resilience just like I had in mine, but also lean on the support available and provided by societies like this one. Although my story had a happy ending, that is not the case for everyone who faces blood cancer. That's why it's important to me to keep fundraising until we find a cure and to let everyone who is impacted by blood cancer know that there's a community here to support them. None of that would be possible without the LLSC and that's why I support fundraisers like Light the Night.