Cancer diagnosis optimistically alters student’s perspective

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Cancer diagnosis optimistically alters student’s perspective

Brynn Haun sleeps after her rib surgery halfway through her cancer treatment.

Brynn Haun sleeps after her rib surgery halfway through her cancer treatment.

Daniel Haun

Brynn Haun sleeps after her rib surgery halfway through her cancer treatment.

Daniel Haun

Daniel Haun

Brynn Haun sleeps after her rib surgery halfway through her cancer treatment.

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Ewing’s Sarcoma Cancer changed freshman Brynn Haun’s life when she was diagnosed on Sept. 27, 2014.

“My initial reaction was like, ‘Oh I’m going to have to go through chemo and lose my hair’ and I did not like that because I liked my hair a lot and I was very attached to it,” Haun said. “Really I was kind of in shock for a few days I feel like, and then I told my friends, and then it became kind of real to me.”

Haun’s friends were just as devastated as she was when they found out that their friend had cancer.

“They were sad and kind of scared at first I feel like,” Haun said. “I didn’t see my one friend for a few days and I told her mom because her mom is really good friends with my mom, and her mom was telling me that she was crying the other day.”

Daniel Haun
Brynn Haun “refusing to sink” towards the end of her cancer treatment.

Freshman Kelly Wehrmeister, a close friend of Haun’s, was crushed by the news.

“Initially, I just stood there in shock. I went to hug her and reassure her that everything was going to work out; I didn’t cry until I got home,” Wehrmeister said. “I cried a ton to my mom asking her why it was that Brynn had cancer. I couldn’t even talk to her at our church activity that day because of how sad I was that Brynn had cancer.”

Haun had to undergo chemotherapy, radiation and rib surgery in order to eradicate the cancer.

“Nausea is kinda hard to avoid because you can take all the anti-nausea medicine in the world but sometimes it just doesn’t help, you’re going to throw up anyway,” Haun said. “I took a lot of pain medicine and that was helpful as well because my joints would get super achy and my muscles would be tired all the time, and fatigue was a big one so I would normally just sleep a lot.”

Haun’s experience forced her to adapt to a different lifestyle that was difficult at times.

“I had my mourning period where I was just kind of a wreck, and I would cry all the time and then I kind of like accepted it, like I’m gonna have to go through this either way and so I just kind of learned to make the best of my situation,” Haun said.

Haun’s parents needed to adapt to her new lifestyle as well. Daniel Haun, Haun’s father, also had lip cancer during her treatment, so he was able to sympathize with her.

“It was really tough and surprising at first, but once we all adapted and got used to our new life, I feel like it was a huge growing opportunity for us all,” Lori Haun said.  

Haun wishes that more people had asked her about her cancer and how her treatment was going.

It was really tough and surprising at first, but once we all adapted and got used to our new life, I feel like it was a huge growing opportunity for us all.”

— Lori Haun

“A few people asked me how the situation was, what I did and stuff. [I would rather] let people know what I am going through instead of having them take a guessing game,” Haun said.

Haun began her treatment on Oct. 14, 2014, a few weeks after she was first diagnosed.

“A lot of the different medicines that they give you make you feel different things. I had this one medicine that made me totally sick and it gave me mouth sores, and achy,” Haun said. “Other medicines would just like make me sleep a lot and a lot of the anti-nausea medicines would make me super drowsy, so I would just be sleeping and throwing up all the time.”

One year later, Haun was proclaimed cancer free, but long term effects from  treatment still remind her of her cancer.

“I have a scar on my back from where they took out my rib, and then there is like a rim around it where I had radiation, and there is just a little part that is like kinda different colored,” Haun said. “I have lost some of my feeling in my stomach from nerves that were cut and so there’s like parts where I am a little numb, other than that, I’m good to go.”

Though Haun experienced difficulties through her journey of fighting cancer, she overcame them.

Lori Haun
Taking group pictures before the Homecoming dance, freshmen Natalie Hitchcock and Brynn Haun pose for Lori Haun.

“I had my time to kinda pout about it and then I woke up and accepted that this is what I was going through and just made the best of it,” Haun said.

Now that Haun is cancer free, she recognizes how she grew from her experience.

“I feel like it helped me get closer to my family and friends. It was an eye opener! I now know that I can do stuff that is hard,” Haun said. “I learned that I have to make the most of my situation, use my time to get to know a lot of amazing people in similar situations and focus on the positive days.”

Haun now volunteers at organizations like Friends of Kids with Cancer and Make a Wish Foundation. She recently participated in a Thank-a-Thon where a few cancer survivors and their families called some of their major donors and thanked them.
“I feel like I understand how important volunteering is and can understand the kids better,” Haun said. “It’s just a great opportunity to get to know people.”

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