Patience Salgado | Lens of Hope

Lindsey with Dog

“Do you think I can take the bandage off for my graduation?” she asked her mom.

This is not a question 18 year olds ask just hours before they graduate.

A biopsy in the morning and the end of a whole significant passage of her life that night was the way Lindsey faced the threshold of adulthood.

College, dorms, roommates, picking a major, maybe party are all in your vocabulary as a high school senior, but no part of your head and heart is biologically wired to hear the word cancer.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, to be exact. Confirmation came when Lindsey read the findings on her health portal, and then had to tell her parents while they were on their way to a beach weekend getaway for Memorial Day.

A whole life, promise and future interrupted.

Lindsey is an empath, a caregiver, the “mom” friend, the one who gathers, buffers, holds people and community together with a constant and kind presence.

You can feel her light when you are with her and see it in her parent’s eyes. She is a gentle and deep joy. 

Except no one expects you to be a light or do anything of the sort when you have cancer, especially as a young adult. Your only job is to get through, whatever that may look like.

The doctors told Lindsey that 2 weeks after her second chemo treatment her hair would start to fall out. She checked the calendar, exactly 14 days landed on June 30th, her 19th birthday.
“Please God, not my birthday.” she prayed quietly.
The day came and sure enough, the first clump of hair came out.
But while the reality of the loss was so stark and real, there was also another.

Cards, loads of cards, flowers and packages arrived all day during that very impactful moment.

Lindsey Looking at Gifts Collage

“I know everyone is different, but I really wanted all the support.”

Lindsey intuitively knew she needed it, she understood that the very thing she had given to others was now so important for her to receive herself.

She poured over each card, every gift, every act of kindness.

She made fellow cancer friends at the clinic, she befriended the kind woman who shaved her head and found the perfect wig, she walked the path of each treatment, she weathered friends who could and could not walk with her, she noticed all the things that were truly important rise, she cried, she rallied, she held each part honestly, fully, and with her whole heart.

Lindsey Hugging Parents

“I never felt like I had to be positive, or that I had to be strong or couldn’t cry. There were dark days, and I felt them and then I would get up the next morning and remind myself, ‘You got this.”

There is a grounding, a quiet and clear strength built into the fiber of her being.

No toxic positivity, no fluff but a solid understanding that good and bad things are happening all around us, every day, and everyone needs kindness.

Lindsey found her way, that light shining brighter than ever.

Her friend once said, “We got through this because of how you were Lindsey.”

I think I can safely say for everyone, they got through this not only because of how she was, but because of who she has always been. 

A girl with bright blue eyes is laying in the grass

Teen wearing a red sweater and smiling