When it comes to personal life, students often do not know what exactly goes on in a teacher’s life outside of school. AVID teacher Christi Boswell’s life was changed in an instant when she was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) in October of 2011. With the diagnosis, she had to take a break from her job as an educator. During this time, Boswell documented the illness through a blog to release what was going on personally.
Leading up to the diagnosis, Boswell had an idea as to what was happening to her body.
“I had a lump on my neck, and it had been there for a really long time,” Boswell said. “I was seeing several doctors to try to figure out what it was and no one could ever figure it out.”
There were several times that Boswell had seen a doctor, but the lump was pushed aside as a respiratory infection. After some time, Boswell started experiencing back pain. As the pain progressed, two more lumps became noticeable on the back of Boswell’s neck. After concern made by different doctors, Boswell did a needle biopsy, a procedure to obtain a sample of cells from the body to test.
“They said that they didn’t find any cancer cells, so we celebrated because they said, ‘it’s not cancer,'” Boswell said.
About a week later, Boswell had called her doctor for a follow up and to see what was next and she was given the news that a needle biopsy was not reliable. Boswell proceeded to do a full body scan for clearer results.
“That’s when they said, ‘… all your lymph nodes are inflamed and you have a mass encasing your splenic artery,'” Boswell said.
Boswell was officially diagnosed with cancer on Oct. 24, 2011.
LISTEN: “I Stepped off the Cliff” Journal Entry read by Christi Boswell
At first, Boswell used writing as a way to inform family and friends about her diagnosis. Instead of posting on Facebook, she used Caringbridge.org, which is a website that allows people who are going through any health situation to document and communicate with loved ones and readers about their illnesses. After writing her first post for informative purposes, Boswell felt that writing was therapeutic and wanted to continue with the writing.
“I knew that I needed a way to just let everyone know what was happening with me and keep them updated on my progress and my treatment,” Boswell said. “It was so cathartic and it just felt so good to get it out there, and as much as it helped people understand what I was going through, it helped me understand what I was going through.”
Boswell is in remission, and her blog still remains up.
“I would love to do something with it now,” Boswell said. “I want to expand on it and turn it into something else.”
Through time, Boswell plans to continue writing about her cancer journey and keep her blog open to the public.
“I write constantly and this is such a big part of my life and I will always write about it,” Boswell said.
To visit Mrs. Boswell’s blog, click here: Caringbridge.org/ChristiBoswell
One thought on “AVID Teacher Shares Cancer Journey Through Writing”
Thank you Aleena. This is a beautiful profile of my journey. You did a wonderful job!