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Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Erwin shares joys, challenges of cancer remission

Being diagnosed with cancer can affect the mind and body in so many different ways. Even after beating cancer, the road isn’t always smooth. But third-grade teacher Alyssa (Pascarelli) Erwin has found ways to make this journey go much easier.

“I just tried to stay as positive as possible. I really just focused on getting through one week at a time. I had a wonderful support system that helped by taking me to all my appointments and being with me while I was recovering,” said Erwin.

Third-grade teacher Alyssa Erwin helps third-grader Susie Nocita with math homework. Erwin has been teaching third grade for 11 years. (Jade Lewis)

Erwin was first diagnosed with Diffuse Large B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June of 2021

“There are so many ups and downs after being diagnosed with cancer. I’m lucky that I knew from the start this wasn’t life threatening. That made it much easier to keep a positive attitude throughout all the treatments. Chemo was rough, so I am very thankful I only had to do four treatments,” said Erwin.

While there weren’t many, each treatment was still time-consuming.

“My chemo was 3-4 hours each time after the initial treatment, which was 8 hours. Radiation was only 10-15 minutes each time,” said Erwin. ”Some days after chemo were harder than other days.”

Luckily, the treatment plan for her worked very well for her, and she got the news that she was going into remission on October 6, 2021.

“I was very relieved to know I wasn’t going to have to do any more chemo treatments. My oncologist originally said I would need 4-6 treatments but decided to do a PET scan after 4, which showed I was completely cancer free! My whole family was thrilled as well,” said Erwin.

While she’s in remission, however, Erwin is still noticing some effects from the treatment.

“Chemo and radiation are powerful tools used to treat cancer. They can have lasting effects. This summer I discovered I have thyroid issues that are a result of the chemo and radiation I received,” said Erwin. “This is something I will have to continue to monitor for the rest of my life and treat with medication, but it’s a minor inconvenience in the whole scope of my cancer journey.”

Erwin also still has to attend regular doctor’s appointments to make sure everything is clear and her cancer hasn’t come back.

“This changes the farther out I get. The first year after remission I went every three months to my oncologist. The

Third grade teacher Alyssa Erwin shows off her curls with then fiancé Andrew Erwin. Erwin’s family and friends were a big part of her journey. (Courtesy Photo)

second year I went every four months. Now I will be going every six months,” said Erwin.

Some of the changes that she sees are smaller, but are still very meaningful.

“For me, the hardest part was losing my hair, but then also going through the hair growth journey again, it was awesome seeing my hair come in curly,” said Erwin.

While there have been many difficult moments, the highlights were the people around her.

“One of the best things I learned through this journey was how supported I am. I truly felt all the love, care and support from everyone in my life,” said Erwin.


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About the Contributor
Jade Lewis
Jade Lewis, Junior writer
Jade Lewis is a junior and is in her second year of journalism.  She enjoys writing stories and taking photos. Outside journalism, Jade is involved in NHS,  basketball, and lifting at Saunders County Medical Center.
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