Meet a young amazing woman who fought a battle and sparkled through until she won. This is her story.
Who are you? (Give a brief background of yourself-name, where you live, education, work, etc)
My name is Magdalena Bujalski and I am 22 years old. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a small city in central Canada, right on the border with the United States. I was born here and have lived in Winnipeg my whole life – hopefully not forever, though. Last June, I graduated from university while going through chemotherapy treatment. I achieved remission in August 2019 and have since returned to work. I am a fulltime translator, while still doing YouTube as my side gig!
You were diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Tell us the story of how this was found out and what type of cancer was it?
It all started with swelling in my left arm and a really bad cough. The swelling I blew off as maybe a strained muscle or sleeping on my left side too much. The cough was also not a big worry to me since it is very cold where I live and it was January at the time. However, I decided to go to a walk-in clinic because I was under the impression that my cough was turning into a lung infection. That is exactly what the walk-in doctor thought as well. She sent me for blood work and an XRAY. She later prescribed me a course of antibiotics and all of my symptoms disappeared! The doctor, however, had advised me to go for another XRAY after I completed the course of antibiotics to ensure that everything had cleared up. Since I felt fine, I almost did not go to this second XRAY, as I figured that it was unnecessary. But, thankfully I did because the test showed that there was still a mass on my lung. Next, I had a CT scan to see what exactly this mass on my right lung was. From there I was sent to a thoracic surgeon who performed a biopsy. Two weeks later, I found out that the tumor was cancerous and I was diagnosed with Stage IV Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma, a form of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
How did you cope with the treatments and what support system did you have around you?
At first, it was hard, as you would expect; but, I tried my best to keep a positive attitude throughout my treatment. That is a big part of the reason why I began documenting my journey on YouTube and Instagram – to help me cope with my illness. My support system was mostly my boyfriend. I am very very thankful for him. He is the most positive person I know and I truly believe that I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without him. I also have a wonderful group of friends, along with my two brothers who helped out a ton!
As a cancer survivor, what do you have to say/share with those going through their health journeys and who want to give up?
Don’t give up! It gets better, I promise. Soon this whole cancer story will be nothing but one small chapter of your long and beautiful life. There are new treatments and medicines being created each and every day. You are in good hands and there is an entire team working toward making you healthy again! You are not alone.
How are you raising awareness for cancer, especially in young adults as a lot of young adults feel it is an ailment for older people.
That is why I really wanted to share my journey via social media, to show that cancer doesn’t discriminate. Cancer doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, or even how healthy you are. It can happen to anyone, at any age. I have this saying that I always mention in all of my videos on YouTube: ‘Know yourself, know your body’. As young adults, we usually blow off pain or medical problems. However, no one knows your body better than you do, so if you feel like something is wrong, trust your gut and go see your doctor!
How do you feel now that you have survived cancer? Has it been easy going back into your old routines or have things totally changed for you?
I feel great. Of course, what happened to me sucks, but it taught me so many valuable lessons that have shaped me into who I am today. I am much more grateful for what I have and take nothing for granted. Going back to my old routine was challenging at first, especially after putting a pause on my life for almost 6 months, but I am now happier than ever. It feels great to feel somewhat normal again.
What are your plans now that it is over?
My plans are to live a fun and healthy life. I plan to begin my career as a translator while maintaining my YouTube channel. I would also like to continue raising awareness about cancer in young adults and helping others fighting this terrible disease.
What do you do for relaxation? What are your hobbies?
For relaxation, I love to go to the gym and do dancing. Since I have been in remission, I decided to make my long-time dream of learning how to dance salsa & bachata come true. I also love to read and binge watch YouTube videos. Since I live in a city where we have winter for most of the year, I also love to skate and snowboard.
If there was one thing you could do or change, what would that be?
I would go back and focus on my mental health at the very beginning of my cancer journey. Initially, my mental health took a beating with all of the anxiety and fear that I was feeling. It definitely made the beginning of my cancer journey very hard and very dark. Luckily, I slipped out of that soon. However, I did continue to struggle with my mental health during my treatment. After all, I am only human!
Magdalena’s social media handles are- Instagram: @magsbujalski Youtube: Mags Bujalski https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR150xZwbxn7EI84yO0143g?view_as=subscriber