I know you want to get the word out that September is National Lymphoma Awareness month. You made a very personal heartbreaking video that’s posted on your site showing you deciding and following through with having your hair shaved off, due to it falling out from Chemotherapy/Radiation treatments. I cried while I was watching it.
Hey Cindi !! Ty so much for asking me to do this interview. The more people I can reach and help the better. Im glad you were touched by the video its a first of a few it was important for me do do for myself and for others.
First tell us what Lymphoma is and what specific kind you have been diagnosed with?
Lymphoma is the most common blood cancer. The two main forms of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, grow abnormally. I have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the most common cancer of the lymphatic system, a part of the immune system. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is not a single disease, but rather a group of several closely related cancers.
What symptoms led you to the doctor to get your diagnosis?
I was actually traveling on a flight going to Long Beach, California for the Glamourcon convention I was at the back of the plane where it was really really cold so much so that the flight attendants had to get me two litres of boiling hot water in bottles to wrap around me. I felt extreme chest pain and thought it was just muscle pain because I was so stiff. I went on as usual but got some a535 rub for my chest and heating pads to help with the pain. I was still getting ready for Glamourcon at this point. Then the pain got more and more severe and in the middle of the convention I had to be rushed to St.Mary’s hospital in Long beach. They did a number of tests kept me over night and they found a large tumour between my heart and my lungs. They performed a biopsy to which originally they said was benign (non cancerous) and that when I got home I had to have it removed. However, when I got home and performed additional tests and another biopsy in Canada they told me that it was not benign it was actually Cancer and it was aggressive and I had to start treatment right away. This was unreal for me the ground was taken from underneath me. To think I didnt have cancer and then find out I did was a feeling I dont think i can put into words, and to find out on xmas eve none the less.
You have been and are going through so much since you were diagnosed nine months ago. Why have you decided to share the battle & journey so openly with your friends and fans?
I was diagnosed on Xmas-eve, thats when I got the phone call from my doctor it was a phone call I can never forget. I was getting my makeup done for a shoot (yes i even work xmas eve im not a xmas fan) and my doctor called me and told me. It was Xmas eve so i decided not to share the information with anyone until Xmas was over. It was a very difficult two days keeping this to myself.
This is one of the hardest things Ive ever had to go through in my life, and my life has been full of pretty hard things. Deciding to be open with my fans was a decision that took a bit of time. I am always very open and genuine with my fans and friends I let them into my world because they let me into theirs. I love being there for them as they are for me. This decision was harder, I didnt want to burden the world with what had happened to me because I was scared and I had no idea what I was about to endure. But the decison became quite clear and quite fast, my fans deserved to know and I wanted to help as many people as I could. They are always there for me, it helps me get through everything. My fans and friends love me for who I am and I wasnt going to keep something this important from them and at the same time I wanted them to know that even though I am a model, I am after all, human.
How hard is it to go through these treatments?
I am a tough cookie but I would not wish Chemotherapy on my worst enemy. I am now undergoing radiation, however, chemo was like walking into fire. Its been really hard on me both physically and emotionally. I am a very positive person, I am always smiling and bubbly and everyone knows it so for me to say that I had some really dark days where I wanted to give up is telling to how hard it is. What doesnt kill you makes you stronger, I hope after all this I can say im pretty damn strong :).
How much more do you have to do? And what is your prognosis?
Currently, the rounds of chemotherapy have finished and I am on to a month of radiation. Radiation therapy is every day for at least a month till they can test again and see how far we have gotten in shrinking the tumour. At this point, I am hoping for the best every single day.
What has been the hardest part of this illness?
Wow there are so many factors that contribute to it being tough, aside from the constant physical pain and emotional distress. The hardest part for me is that my heart and mind want to continue doing things as if I wasnt sick. I am a very driven person and very focused and when I have to slow down its the most frustrating thing in the world. Im go go go and I dont like not being in control of that. I usually push through, but its mentally defeating. Also, the fear of the unknown, wondering when and if you’ll get better and also wondering why this happened to you. However, I do believe everything happens for a reason.
What has kept you going through this rough time?
I have a never give up spirit. Ive been on my own since 16 years old and I am a survivor. My fans and My friends have kept me going the most by far. I love them all soo much. The day in day out prayers,support, love, and the fun times we have. The conversations, the stories they so willingly share with me about personal events or people that have been affected by cancer, or who have lost people to cancer. Of course the ones that beat it and tell me I will too. The fact that they treat me normally and I can still be myself with them.
My father, who passed when I was six… I am very much my fathers daughter. I visit him a lot and I know hes saying keep going I love you but I dont want you with me yet. I find the most peace going to the cemetery to visit with him. His heart and his strength keep me going.
I am very motivated, I wanna add this to the list of things that I kicked the shit out of ? ( right after my ex lol kidding).
My doggies have kept me going they are always there for me. Funny and quick tidbit.. my dog pinky right after I got diagnosed used to sit and scratch at my chest as if she was digging and it was right at the spot where the tumour was, she is one smart doggie. Also, im just not ready to go when I start to go into a dark moment I remember theres a lot of people counting on me to bring smiles to their faces, and I love that they bring smiles to mine. When you think your alone, your not.
My girlfriends Sara Jay, Kelly Divine, Vicky Vette, Sophie dee, Brianna Jordan, Lexi Love, of course YOU ! and really the whole community has embraced me and taken time to care and send their love, its really quite an experience.
What can we do to help?
You are all doing it. Every single day you share your stories with me you pray, laugh, have fun with me. I just want you guys to keep me in your thoughts but Im online every day and I tweet all the time so I just want you all to be you and continue doing what youve been doing. I want to thank you all for the gifts, the letters, the cards, books, emails and for sharing personal moments with me. Ty for letting me into your world this is exactly why I let you into mine.
Tay, your positive, upbeat attitude is amazing. As I’ve said before, you are beautiful inside & out!
Ty cindi, I have to stay positive… when I first got diagnosed I could have just curled up on a couch and given up. I did curl up on the couch for a few days but its just not in me to do that. I got up and said lets do this thing, cancer has nothing on me im gonna kick the shit out of it. I stay positive,bubbly, and smiling. Im online doing my thing every night, im still travelling to the conventions to meet my fans that keep me going. I wont let this take anymore away from me then it already has. Ill beat this !! ?
Please list where fans can find you-
Awesome ? My fans can find me at www.taystevens.com where there is tons of updates videos etc. They can find me bouncing live at my free fanclub at www.playwithtay.com and of course tweeting at www.twitter.com/taystevens
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and for allowing me to be so open, candid and honest. I am hoping for the best every single day and with people, fans, and friends like you all in my corner I really cant go wrong.
Love you guys
You can all please watch my video and spread the word to anyone suffering and let them know they arent alone.
(I had to remove the vid from LIB, it was crashing. Please use above link to see it! )
This is a sad & happy post I guess. Because I also want to mention that tomorrow is Tay’s Birthday. I hope you have a great one girlfriend! Love you much!