"Yeah, I got the 'C.' I didn't like saying 'cancer' at the beginning, at all, but they're gonna cut it out, and it's gonna be OK. So, I didn't put it high on my priority list. I figured I just started the semester. I'll deal with it on winter break, and maybe get a couple weeks off work, recover and be good."
During her fall semester, Tylin was not only a full-time mother and college student but also an employee at Cincinnati Children's, where she was referred to for care. Through imaging and biopsies, she was diagnosed with a low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma in her pelvis.
Tylin: "I wanna say my mass was probably like 10 centimeters by 6 or 8 centimeters. It was pretty large. It looked like an organ in my X-rays."
"When I went for my ortho appointment, there were probably four people in the room. And that's when it just all hit me like oh my gosh, all these people are here for me to talk about my plan. Like, they already met behind the scenes. They knew exactly what they needed to do."
They removed as much of the mass as they could in surgery, but because it was so close to her spine, she was left with positive margins and required further treatment to get the rest.
Tylin: "I think because of my age, because I'm of child-bearing age, and because of the location of my tumor, it was best for me to have proton therapy as opposed to traditional radiation. I certainly slept a lot more. I did not work the six weeks that I was in radiation at all. I did lose some weight, which is not good, but I did not complain about it, either."
The road to a new normal wasn't easy. With PT, OT, walkers and canes, Tylin experienced many highs and lows while getting back on her feet.
Tylin: "I can remember crying, and my husband was like, 'What's wrong?' And I'm like, 'I can't shower by myself.' So, at home it was more difficult. When I was around other people, be it because they were sympathetic, or they were on my care team, or because I was around people whose situation was as bad as my situation, that's when I knew I was in the right place."
Tylin is back to work at Cincinnati Children's and is back in school pursuing her master's degree. All while being more present with her family.
Tylin: "I am in a place of my journey now where I get scans every three months. So, I have to make the most of my three months. I don't want my most intimate times with my family to be when I was laid up on this couch and could not move. So we try to be more deliberate about hanging out, just because."
"I feel like I'm coming full-circle now. I don't feel like I'm all the way there, but I think being on the side of patient and having this journey now, totally changed my outlook, and it makes me grateful. And it makes me, I think, also sympathize and understand. I don't necessarily want to wear a straight face when I'm on the elevator with a patient. Smile! Like, that stuff matters! It matters, and I didn't think about it before until I got to be the person that wore the wristband. I didn't think about it, but now I do. Now I do."