“Cancer doesn’t end when you ring the bell”
Julia Williams, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Survivor
It’s #AYApril, a month-long look into adolescent and young adult cancer. Today, we’re putting a spotlight on Julia’s story and her experience facing cancer as a young adult.
At 32, Julia Williams was too old for a quarter-life crisis and too young for a mid-life crisis. Cancer knows no age limits though, and it brought Julia all the crisis she could handle.
“When I was diagnosed with cancer,” recalls Julia, “it felt like everything came crashing down at once.” The Annapolis native was home from Jacksonville, North Carolina, visiting her parents, when the mysterious full-body itching and pain she had been experiencing for a while reached a limit she could no longer tolerate. Staunchly independent, Julia knew something must be seriously wrong when she gave up control and let her mom take her to the doctor.
Within two weeks, Julia’s life as she knew it was over. She had been dealt a diagnosis of progressive Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, with swollen lymph nodes throughout her body and fluid threatening her heart and lungs. She quit her fast-paced job as a bartender in a young, military town and moved back to her childhood home with her folks. And the day before her first chemotherapy treatment, Julia’s husband told her he was leaving her.