Living With…Episode 014 Vanessa Laven, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Survivor


Vanessa Laven

Mixed Martial Arts & Crafts

Welcome to show everyone! I hope you are all well!
In May 2010 my guest was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Prior to her diagnosis she saw her doctor three times with bronchitis symptoms and each time he assured her that she had either allergies or was asthmatic. He handed her an inhaler and sent her on her way without doing any allergy or asthma tests.

She spent a whole Summer being sick, and not being able to walk across her small apartment without having to stop to catch her breath. She stopped cooking and cleaning because she had to keep taking breaks. She was also having very dry coughing fits that left her gasping for air.

After a second opinion with a cardiologist, X-rays revealed her heart was enlarged and there was concern about the amount of fluid around her heart.  Unfortunately, surgery revealed fluid was caused by a massive tumor around her heart.

She had six rounds of intense chemotherapy to fight her large and aggressive tumor.  She also spent several weeks in the hospital with neutropenic fevers and received several blood and platelet transfusions.

She’s currently in remission and is taking on the world.
She makes sewn and stuffed body parts at Survival Organs and blogs about her life after cancer and her love of knitting and martial arts at

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