Courtney was diagnosed 7 months ago, in December 2021, with a rare subtype of non-hodgkin lymphoma: BIA ALCL at only 46 years old.
Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is an indolent (slow-growing) T-cell lymphoma that develops very rarely following silicone breast implantation (‘implants’). This can particularly occur with textured implants rather than the smooth type implants. Although it develops in the breast, it is not a type of breast cancer. Scientists think that it might be caused by an inflammatory reaction to the implant.
Courtney explains in her video that she had a pain under her right arm that didn’t go away, and a lump near her implant.
Over 3 months, Courtney underwent a multitude of tests, the removal of implants, and after initially being told there was no cancer just before Christmas, was finally diagnosed in the New Year when scattered cells were found; it was Stage 3. Life then turned upside down.
Symptoms she experienced included being exhausted, pain in her armpit, a lump, random sweating, and really itchy palms of hands and soles of feet.
Chemo commenced ASAP – the high risk of infection meant she had to close her personal training business, and then tell her young family. Courtney’s treatment regime was 6 rounds of CHOP. The chemotherapy really knocked her around and each round got worse. Quality of life was zip.
Then some good news – no evidence of disease at end of round 3. But there was still 3 more sessions to undergo.
When she lost her hair, Courtney describes it as the most heart-wrenching and soul destroying moment. Until she then lost her brows and lashes too!
Now 3 months post treatment she is in remission, with 5 years of check ups to go.
“Life is becoming more normal – hair is growing back, energy is coming back, taste is returning, weight is stabilizing, and I feel life is getting back on track.”
COVID times means Courtney is yet to return to work due to being immunocompromised.
“I am adapting – growing – living!”