Telling My Story

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“I have cancer, and I’m telling you that I have cancer.”

Stephanie Hunter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May. Disorienting enough as it is to wrestle with a new diagnosis, she also had to figure out how to tell everyone about it.

“I was confused,” she admits. She started with the multiple phone calls, texts, emails and Facebook messages. But she didn’t have the energy. And then her sister, Shannon, got involved and took over as the head of communications. A CaringBridge website went up.

“One post to get the word out and the phone calls subsided,” Stephanie says. “Shannon’s doing an amazing job getting the word out and she’s funny—and people were acknowledging that—and so thankful that she was updating.”

Ongoing Support

The support didn’t disappear with the phone calls.

Instead, all the amazing well wishes and messages were concentrated in one place. Everyone received the same information at the same time, and were able to respond in their own way or their own time. Stephanie saved time and energy too. She could check in when she was ready and willing. Consolidating communication and time is paramount around doctor’s appointments and the life that unfolds once cancer treatment begins.

But perhaps what Stephanie didn’t expect was one of the biggest benefits of CaringBridge: Helping her find her voice.

“It was hard for me to step in and voice my own journey, but once I started updating I realized, ‘This is a great way to talk about what’s going on.’ This is all about my health and all about what I’m going through.”

Free from the mix of messages, from political to advertising, that flow through anyone’s social media feed on a daily basis, Stephanie began to home in on her cancer diagnosis and what that meant for her and her loved ones. “It’s freeing to be able to update and talk about myself and be myself in this time,” she says.

And what she’s getting back through CaringBridge is also helping her heal:

“I always say it’s a warm fuzzy blanket. I absolutely look at those messages all the time and I can’t imagine not having that in my life right now.”

Together, Shannon and Stephanie are telling Stephanie’s lymphoma story – from diagnosis through treatment and remission. And her loved ones are helping her feel loved in a time where she needs it most.

Thank You for Strengthening the Community

Every year, more than 35 million people rely on CaringBridge to give and receive strength during a health journey. This would not be possible without our thousands of caring donors and compassionate volunteers—thank you.

Another way you can strengthen the community: Consider starting a CaringBridge website for someone in your life going through a health journey of any kind. It’s a safe, secure place to share health updates and receive encouragement and support from family and friends.

Together, we’re stronger.

Comments (20)

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Dennis Biondo May 22, 2016 7:15am
Nice site. Lymphoma Prognosis is intimidating but there are ways to assist in preventing this unpleasant disease altogether. Be careful.
Kay Mar 03, 2016 6:10pm
Stephanie, I want to tell you I am so impressed with your courage, strength, easy going manner, which we all know isn't easy. I want you to know that when our youngest daughter was 17, she suffered with Hodgkins Lymphoma, with chemo and radiation. Hopefully to encourage you, she has not had any more cancer problems since then; she is now 47. I will pray for the same fortunate outcome for you. Your beauty shines!!!
nitaibabu Feb 19, 2016 1:01pm
shayan occeno Jan 24, 2016 12:26am
love your story . hope you feel well.
Kate Jan 20, 2016 8:45pm
Sorry Stephy for your form of Cancer. I had a few great friends who I loved unfortunately die from Cancer. Now I am worried a lot about my dad, my cousin and my close friend all Cancer patients. I simply cannot live without them. I may be 37 but,with them I feel like a precious baby girl.I love them 24/7. Extremely clingy and snuggly. Just sometimes hoping to cuddle up and fall asleep hearing them breathing and snoring without leaving their side. I don't know how painful Cancer is compare to my own disease. Besides a weight issue and high blood pressure. I was born with a hole in my heart. My folks said, I had open heart surgery at two months old. As I got older for many years things got worst. Bad headaches, falling asleep easily at work, at friends homes etc. Feeling like my energy level was off. I was so dizzy seeing stars etc. That in 2010-2011 we discovered that my heart was very weak. I had a Pacemaker placed inside of me. No one gets the pain,the reactions etc. Of people who are ill all the time or on an off. I am only alive for my medicines, for the faith of God,my close friend, my best friends and family members from Facebook, work ,churches and home. I want to make people feel like nothing changes between us despite the illnesses and the pains we are struggling with. Stephanie, I want you to fight the disease and fight the battle to the fullest potential in life because you deserve to live longer rather you are single or married. Your Family members and Friends honey need you. If I wasn't in a hole with money I would love to help you out. But,why won't people care to help or support people who are facing a heart disease? I think if we can manage to find people to help us then we can embrace more often, love people etc. I am still working but,it is hard when I get sick. I have Asthma too. I will be happy to remain your fb friend. Check me out. God bless you and get better very soon. Kate Lewis!
Joanne Jan 19, 2016 5:17pm
Thank you for sharing your story. It gives such hope to those who are going through their personal journey with cancer, or any disease.
Eileen Jan 17, 2016 3:28pm
Wishing you well, and you're not alone in this, together is better and you are stronger for that. Well done for telling you're story, CaringBridge is like a big family, people support each other. Enjoy everyday. Good luck.
Shana Barefoot Jan 14, 2016 7:28pm
Thank you for sharing your story Stephanie and Shannon!!! You both are in my prayers and I have BIG hope that you will be fine and beat this!! My sister in law had the same diagnosis and pulled thru like a champion and is still in remission years later!! It was a very hard time for us all but with positive energy and lots of prayers and taking good care of herself both physically and mentally she is doing quite well ❤️ Again thank you for sharing and many prayers being sent from North Carolina ❤️🌈🌠🙏☮
Dani Flanagan Jan 14, 2016 1:20pm
Way to go Stephanie! My husband survived this horrific battle 20 years ago. I hope that 20 years from now you can offer your support to someone else that is struggling. It is a monumental struggle to start but in hindsight it strengthened our family and made us each learn to stop and smell the roses. We no longer take each day for granted but do our best to make each day special and find our joy.
Dick Lawlor Jan 14, 2016 10:33am
I recently lost my good buddy, Clint Babb. He did the most remarkable thing on the day of his passing; He phoned all of his family and four best friends to say he loved them and good by. I will never forget that.
Amanda Jan 14, 2016 9:28am
Thank you for sharing your story! You have such a bright light about you- radiating warmth and positivity. Sending hugs!!
Vicki Lucifora Jan 14, 2016 9:08am
I can actually say I HAVE been in your shoes with the same exact cancer as you. This was in 2008 and have been cancer free since. 🎉🎉🎉. You have an amazing positive spirit that is contagious!! You will be sharing your story for years to come at the same time helping countless people get through their treatment. We are sisters even though we have never met. God is giving you peace and healing.
Sandi Jan 14, 2016 8:09am
Stephanie you are very blessed to have such a caring and loving sister! With your positive attitude and with the help of CaringBridge you will be a stronger person.. You are beautiful inside and out! Bless you, prayers are coming your way for a speedy recovery!
Marianne Jan 14, 2016 5:49am
Stay strong Stephanie. Positivity will help lots. I've seen so many with cancer that survive because of that and the strength and faith. Wishing all the best for a complete recovery. If you tell people, they in turn will pray for you. The power of prayer is amazing!
Kristen Paape Jan 13, 2016 10:06pm
To Stephanie- I just came across your Caring Bridge site n I just want you to know I will be lifting you up in prayers! I'm soooooo sorry you have to go through this devil of a disease! My family went through this back in 2007 when my lil niece was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer-Meduloblastoma. She was diagnosed at the age of 13 months n honestly they gave a not so good prognosis. Ava is the 2nd born daughter to my amazing sister n brother-in-law Amy n Jeremy Jacobs. They live in Houston TX n thank god they had AMAZING medical care. She went through 52 weeks of chemo n 25 radiation treatments of which she had to be put to sleep, every treatment for 5 days a week for 5 weeks straight. Amy was pregnant with their 3rd daughter so being around the chemo was not in the cards so to speak so with her amazing husband, our mom n the unbelievable nursing/doctor n all other staff, she beat the odds!! I say this because without prayers from EVERYONE, even strangers you have never met or heard of, MIRACLES happen!! I remember asking God why this has to happen n we will never understand why people have to go through this but again, without prayers n a positive attitude, you can beat this!! Her website is Ava Brae Jacobs n she is a testimony that prayers work!! Like I said, I am adding you to my prayer chain n keep up the fight-you can beat it! You are a beautiful person Stephanie!! Gods Blessings to you Stephanie!!
Chris Laulhere Jan 13, 2016 4:39pm
Stephanie, I wish you all the best in your recovery. You have an amazing sister, are you and Shannon twins ? I started reading Caring Bridge a couple of months ago when a dear friend was in a terrible car accident. Hit on the freeway by a drunk driver .... she is a walking miracle and I was so please to be able to read about her everyday, written by her mother, also an amazing lady ! Thank you for sharing your story. Warmest Regards,
Brenda Jan 06, 2016 8:36pm
Bless your heart, Stephanie! Prayers for you and all those who love and support you!
Loretta Marie Willard Jan 06, 2016 7:25pm
Caring Bridge became an indispensable network for my brother as he recovered from horrific injuries suffered when we was run over by a driver who rear ended him and his motorcycle last August. The right people got to him in time at the accident scene to save his life then got him to Harborview to begin a month stay and a long list of surgeries. For family and friends Caring Bridge was the best way to get the same information to everyone and an avenue for response and well-wishes. I wish all the best for you and your loved ones as you see each other through the daily doubts and rallies. Marie
By Cyndy--December 30, 2015, 8:30 AM Dec 30, 2015 9:29am
Stephanie you have a beautiful glow about you! You and Shannon look like your twins. Hang tough Stephanie!!! I really enjoyed listening to your story.
Nancy Dec 29, 2015 7:26pm
Wow, how wonderful! Liked listening to you and Shannon. Keep up your spirit !!!!!