JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One year after being diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, 13News Now meteorologist Crystal Harper flipped her wig on television declaring #ThisIsMe. Harper now has a short and sassy hair cut that she says is easy to manage but it’s still at times difficult for her to look in the mirror. Harper calls the wig she wore while going through cancer treatment her security blanket.
“The hardest part is when I walk by a mirror,” Harper said. “I don't think I look like myself but this is the new me and I'm getting used to it."
A Navy reservist, she fought the disease while remaining in the public eye. Harper knows how to handle pressure. Before becoming a local television news meteorologist she issued forecasts for military bases across the world and also provided forecasts for Air Force One. Harper blogged about the ups and downs of cancer treatment, stayed active on social media and was even featured in a local magazine.
"I wanted to make it a little bit more real," said Harper. "I was active, I was healthy I ate well I went to the gym all of the time and I got cancer. I wanted to show people that it can happen to anybody and you really need to be aware of your own body and when your body tells you something is wrong it probably is."
Harper says she knew something was wrong even before her diagnosis. There were signs and symptoms such as fatigue, bad night sweats, she continuously got sick and later found a lump above her left collar bone. The Navy reservist encourages others to listen to your body and see a doctor if you feel things aren't quite right.
Harper underwent twelve rounds of chemo and is now cancer free, “I was determined that I was going to win and even when I made my announcement on-air to my viewers I told them I'm going to be back. I said this time next year I'm going to be back."
She made it! Harper took off her wig with tears in her eyes spreading awareness, displaying strength and encouraging others to declare, “this is me.”