This week’s story is from a young woman named Ashley, who I was introduced to earlier this year through a relative. She is the mother of two young children, and way too young to be battling cancer, but her battle could end with her last chemotherapy treatment today.

This is her story:


Last year I had a good friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am a little bit unusual in that it was the first time I was touched by cancer in any way. I was shocked. She was only 28 years old – too young to have cancer!

She was very fortunate and was cancer–free after a lumpectomy and over a year later is still cancer–free!

The winter after she was diagnosed, I started to experience a dull pain in my left shoulder around my collarbone. I chalked it up to stress–which I had plenty of to with work–and two busy toddlers at home.

However, the pain only increased and then I began to have chest pains as well.

I am very resistant to going to the doctor, especially if I am only going with vague symptoms like “weird neck/shoulder pain.” At the insistence of my husband I went. My doctor wasn’t necessarily sure what to do with the pain I was experiencing, but did notice that my jugular vein on the left side was extremely distended. This led to lots of tests, ultrasounds, CT scans, biopsies, surgery and after a month and a half, a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

I am one of the fortunate ones.

My cancer was caught early and after six months of chemotherapy treatment (my last treatment is this today!) I get to say that I am cancer-free. But even when the outcome is favorable, the road to get there is always a challenge.


Chemo has been a lifesaver for me, but for someone who has always been very active, it made me feel like a stranger in my own body.


The physical changes that came with chemo were hard to bear also. Before I started chemo I had long hair down to the middle of my back. That obviously had to change once I started treatment – for the sake of my drains and vacuum, haha! I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. I have never been one to care much about my appearance, but the day I shaved my head was one of the more difficult days on this cancer road.

I am so thankful for WINK and your generosity in helping women like me feel like ourselves again! 


This is just a snippet of Ashley’s journey.

If you want to learn more about this amazing young woman as she continues on her journey, I would encourage you to check out her beautiful blog here.

We sent a small batch of Wink to Ashley, right before she began her chemotherapy treatment, because my cousin let me know about Ashley and her story.Even though we partner with charities, we’re also more than willing to giving back to the people that you know and love who are affected by cancer.

If you know anyone who is currently undergoing chemotherapy and would love a little surprise in their mailbox, feel free to email me at [email protected] with their name and address.



Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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