Your Health Unlocked Episodes

028: Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 18 – Jess’s Story 

Publication Date: September 21, 2023

By: NWHN Staff

Episode Trailer



In your senior year of high school, the average teenager’s mind is occupied by thoughts of prom, future studies, and the exciting prospect of entering the world of adulthood. Far from the typical teenage experience, this week’s podcast guest, Jess, faced an unexpected and daunting challenge – a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the tender age of 18.

With her future aspirations now overshadowed by the burden of illness, Jess found herself thrust into a world of uncertainty and fear. Jess’s courage and resilience to take on chemotherapy, immunotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and radiation offers hope and encouragement to others facing their own health battles. Tune in now to hear Jess candidly share how her and her family dealt with this nightmare diagnosis and shaped a future that not only sees her surviving and in remission today, but thriving.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What Hodgkin’s lymphoma is and what the typical treatment plan looks like
  • Jess’s experience of chemotherapy and its side effects
  • How Jess navigated starting her first semester of college while dealing with her illness
  • The impact of cancer treatment on Jess’s fertility and the process of freezing her eggs
  • The coping strategies that helped Jess and what she would advise others going through a similar health battle

More about Jess:

Jess Foss is a two-time Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor at the ripe old age of 21. She has had chemotherapy, immunotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and radiation. She is happy to report that all is well now, and she is currently in nursing school working hard to eventually become a pediatric oncology nurse. Outside of school, she works as a nursing assistant and likes to stay active and busy with her energetic dog!

Resources for Episode 028:

Some Terms and Linked Definitions: 

References Mentioned:

  • Jess posted updates throughout her treatment on her Instagram page @jess.foss.  Her page gives a good insight into who she was versus who she is today.
  • After someone is diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), doctors will try to figure out if it has spread, and if so, how far. This process is called staging. The stage of a cancer describes how much cancer is in the body and helps determine how serious the cancer is and how best to treat it. Click here to learn more about the staging system used for Hodgkin lymphoma (the Lugano classification).
  • The American Cancer Society gives further details about intravenous (IV) lines, catheters, and ports used in cancer treatment here.
  • The Ulman Foundation provides free housing for young adult cancer patients, and their caregivers. Read more about their work here.
  • Disability Resources and Services (DRS) is the designated department by the University of Pittsburgh to determine reasonable accommodations and services to students, faculty, and staff with disabilities.
The primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and entertain. All views expressed by the persons featured on the Your Health Unlocked podcast are their own and do not reflect the opinions of the NWHN or its affiliates. Information provided in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Consult your own provider for any medical issues that you may be experiencing.

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