Cancer isn’t something that only happens to other people. I know because it happened to me. My name is Emma. I’m 19 and live in Seattle with my family. This fall, I’m beginning culinary classes at Seattle Central Community College, but four years ago, I was battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma at Seattle Children’s.
It took many visits to the hospital and many rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, but I won my battle against cancer because of the great care I received in the SCCA unit at Children’s. I can’t thank everybody there enough.
Cancer treatment is hard. It made me feel sick and caused my hair to fall out, but I felt lucky to come to a place where everybody focuses just on treating kids and young adults. The doctors and nurses were honest and understanding and made me feel like a real person.
The SCCA unit will be even more welcoming when it moves into the Building Hope expansion. Every patient will have a private room and the top floor will be designated for teens and young adults who share many of the same interests and concerns.
My story is unusual because I was living in Sweden when I got sick. My whole family lived there for a year, but I stayed because I wanted to finish high school in Sweden. Then I started feeling tired and short of breath. Although I didn’t think it was anything serious, I ended up coming home.
We planned to see the doctor a few days after I got back, but a family friend who was a nurse checked my blood pressure – it was very, very high – and urged us to go to the emergency room at Children’s right away. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and admitted to the SCCA unit. I spent 10 days in the unit and another six months going back and forth for outpatient treatment.
Based on my experiences, the Children’s design team asked me to share my thoughts as they planned the rooms in the new SCCA unit. I love the fact there’s more space for family members. And every room has an awesome flat-screen TV with on-demand movies, games and information parents and patients need to know. Best of all, there’s only one patient per room. This may sound gross, but when you’re really sick, you don’t want to deal with another person in your room throwing up in the middle of the night.
Click here to see a clip from a KING 5 special that Emma participated in this past spring.