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22-Year-Old Modesto Nursing Student Celebrates Becoming Cancer-Free For The New Year

MODESTO (CBS13) - A new year can bring many things for people. For one Modesto nursing student, ringing in the new year brings a clean bill of health.

Emily Koskey said this New Year's Eve will be memorable to her. It won't be because of popping a champagne bottle or watching fireworks.

"Just remembering that 2019 was the one where I kicked cancer in the butt and got to kind of get to start kind of a new life," Emily said.

In mid-August, Emily noticed something was off.

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"I was getting real short of breath for no reason and then I started to notice...right on my sternum...a pretty hard lump," she said.

Scans showed there were two lumps the size of golf balls. On September 3, doctors gave Emily the diagnosis no one is ever prepared for:  "The day I heard cancer was probably one of the hardest days of my life," said Alan Koskey, Emily's father.

Emily spent four months in and out of the Kaiser Permanente Modesto Medical Center, undergoing chemotherapy. She made the best of spending days in the hospital. One of them was on Halloween when Emily dressed up characters like Calliou, Charlie Brown, and The Last Airbender.

"You can choose to either be really sad about your circumstances or you can choose to be joyful," she said.

Emily found later that positive attitude and treatment paid off.

"She did have a PET scan was done in November and it showed that she's clear," Stephanie Byrd, nursing director at the Modesto Medical Center, said.

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But Emily would have to do three more rounds of chemo to ensure she'd be ringing in the New Year cancer-free.

"One second I was super excited that the treatment was working," she said. "But another part of me was like, 'If I'm cancer-free, why do I have to three more rounds?'"

"We have done six cycles on her of treatment just to have; it's like a protective measure against the cancer," Byrd said.

Emily's hospital room was decked out in New Year's Eve decorations as she celebrated a new year and new clean bill of health.

Her experience is now steering her toward helping others who will deal with this old acquaintance that should be forgotten.

"Being able to...relate to kids who have gone through the same thing would be really special and comforting them as well as for their family," Emily said.

She said she would be interested in getting involved in pediatric oncology after this experience. She is going to ease into her life after cancer, and looks forward to being active and exercising again.

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