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Regis Today | Winter 2022 | Life is 'Brutiful'

Life is 'Brutiful'

Lauren Ghazal, BSN ’15, MSN ’16, PhD, FNP-BC, finds beauty amid cancer diagnosis.

“I wear a bracelet with the phrase ‘brutiful’ as a daily reminder that life is both brutal and beautiful,” shares Lauren Ghazal, BSN ’15, MSN ’16, PhD, FNP-BC. “It’s hard to embrace the brutal moments, but I’ve learned there can also be beauty in them.”

Ghazal was pursuing her PhD at New York University and working as a family nurse practitioner when she began feeling tired and losing weight.  “I had only been living in NYC a few months, and, at the time, just attributed it to a normal adjustment to the hustle of city life,” Ghazal recalls.

But when Ghazal identified a non-tender lymph node right above her collarbone, she went to her primary care physician and a series of specialists before receiving a diagnosis of stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma.

After six months of treatment, Ghazal was elated to see the clear scan telling her she was in remission, but she still found herself asking, “What now?” She had finished treatment, but no one told her about the struggles she would face the first few years after active treatment.

“Mental health was never discussed during my active treatment, but therapy is where my healing truly started,” says Ghazal. By sharing her story, Ghazal hopes to help eliminate the stigma around discussing mental health and give more people the courage to seek the resources and help they need.

Ghazal’s diagnosis completely shifted the trajectory of her career, which now focuses on cancer survivorship, specifically among adolescents and young adults (AYAs), an age group with unique challenges and needs.

“I am excited about the contributions I will make to this field as a patient, clinician, and researcher to help others, and I am proud of my nursing roots at Regis.”   

 


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