Hayden senior Alyssa Droge’s battle to overcome cancer

Hayden senior Alyssa Droge’s battle to overcome cancer
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 10:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - One word that nobody wants to hear and that’s cancer. That was a reality for Alyssa Droge who entered a battle she and her family never expected.

Droge was diagnosed with Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in Aug. 2021, at the age of 16.

She knew something wasn’t right after she had shortness of breath rehabbing an ACL tear.

“I had a very large bump on my chest and one night I was taking a shower, I called my mom in there and we said let’s go to the doctor,” Alyssa said.

Doctors at first thought she pulled a muscle...

“We got an X-Ray and then after the X-Ray, they noticed that something was there and following the X-Ray, we did a CT Scan and that’s where things started moving,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa says the cancer started on top of her Trachea and she had to be flown by helicopter to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

“It took seven days to find out what it was,” Alyssa’s mom Paula said. “They knew there was a mass but didn’t know what it was and it took so long because of what it was and they had to be sure.”

They both told 13 Sports Alyssa stayed in ICU for three days before being transferred to her own room.

“It was really hard. I think that we already knew it was pretty serious when I realized the floor that we were on at Children’s Mercy. I knew it wasn’t good,” Paula said.

“I think what made it not set in was the fact that I felt fine because besides just not being able to breathe when I would work out hard, I felt completely normal,” Alyssa added.

Paula says Alyssa was given baby chemo at first to see her body’s reaction. The family had multi-night hospital visits every three weeks needing to stop in for blood transfusions when Alyssa was between treatments.

“I told myself, like I’m not the patient here, I’m not the one going through this,” Paula said. “It’s time to pick your head up and we walked through this with a smile because that’s exactly what she was doing.”

During the treatment, instead of having a port, she had to use a pick line in her arm that Alyssa’s mom and dad had to learn how to use.

On top of her battle with cancer, Alyssa has torn her ACL in both knees, then her meniscus, all while in high school.

Alyssa and her mom used this as a learning experience, sticking to their family phrase throughout: “Everything is going to workout somehow.”

“You just don’t really realize everything good you have until one day you just can’t do it,” Alyssa said with a smile. “Just that you can get through anything and seeing everything that I’m doing today, I’ll just think back like, this time last year I was nothing like I am today. It’s just an awesome story. So much can change in such little time.”

“Relief and appreciation is really what it was. It’s hard to put into words with feelings like that, especially when you endured all that,” Paula said, wiping away tears. “Obviously I still get emotional about it. Anyone that goes through this, you’re always going to have that with you and carry it and I’m just grateful.”

Alyssa began remission in January 2022 and after quarterly checkups and six rounds of chemo, she now goes twice a year. Now that she’s 100 percent healthy, she plans on taking the circle in softball at University of Missouri at Kansas City next season.