Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Patricia O. on September 30, 2008
I was Diagnosed with:
FOLLICULAR NON-HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA STAGE IV
Date of Diagnosis:
June 25, 2007
Employment Status:
EMPLYED
Age:
54
Type and Description of Treatments:
CHEMO, RITUXINAB
How do you feel today?

I GET TIRED EASILY, JOINT PAIN EVERYWHERE. I HAD ALLERGIES BEFORE, BUT NOW THEY ARE MUCH WORSE.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE SAME THINGS AS BEFORE. MY PRIORITIES HAVE CHANGED. I ENJOY SIMPLE THINGS MORE AND I SPEND MORE TIME PRAYING AND READING MY BIBLE. I AM CURRENTLY EMPLOYED FULL TIME, BUT WILL RETIRE SOON. LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT, I HAVE WORKED FOR THE SAME AGENCY FOR 29 YEARS AND I WILL MISS IT, BUT I WILL LIKE TO HAVE MORE FOR OTHER THINGS, LIKE READING AND SPENDING TIME WITH MY FAMILY AND WITH MY DOGS. I WILL ALSO SPEND MORE TIME ON GETTING ENOUGH EXERCISE AND EATING A HEALTHY DIET.

What is going well for you right now?

I AM CURRENTLY ON REMISSION, I AM FEELING A LITTLE BIT BETTER. MY OUTLOOK IS POSITIVE AND I AM DETERMINED THAT CANCER WILL NOT ROB ME OF MY JOY AND HAPPINESS AND THAT WHATEVER TIME I HAVE LEFT I WILL SPEND IT HAPPY. THERE AT TIMES WHEN I GET DEPRESSED AND WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ME IF CANCER COMES BACK, SOMETIMES I FEEL THAT CANCER IS LIKE A SHADOW FOLLOWING ME, BUT I DON'T FEEL LIKE THAT VERY OFTEN.

What is not going well for you right now?

I AM NOT ABLE TO DO SOME OF THE THINGS I USED TO DO THAT MAKES ME FEEL A LITTLE FRUSTRATED.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

FACING MY FAMILY AND TRYING NOT TO FALL APART IN FRONT OF THEM. FACING POSSIBLE FUTURE CANCERS AND HAVING TO GO THRU MORE TREATMENTS.

When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?

I DO ATTEND A SUPPORT GROUP, AND I HAVE MET MANY WHO HAVE BEEN ON REMISSION FOR A LONG TIME, SOME WITH MY TYPE OF CANCER. I FIND SUPPORT IN MY CHURCH FAMILY THEY HAVE BEEN A SOURCE OF MUCH SUPPORT DURING THIS WHOLE ORDEAL. MY FAMILY HAS ALSO BEEN VERY SUPPORTIVE.

How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?

TO LIVE AND HAVE THE COURAGE TO FACE ANYTHING THAT I HAVE COMING. TO LEARN TO LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFE, TO BE ABLE TO BE IN A POSITION PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY TO HELP OTHERS WHO ARE GOING THRU CANCER.

What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?

I AM CURRENTLY EMPLOYED FULL TIME WORK 8 A.M. TO 5 P.M., BUT WILL RETIRE IN 3O DAYS.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?

I WAS ABLE TO TAKE OFF WORK WHILE I WAS TAKING MY CHEMO, I WAS VERY SICK WITH THE TREAMTENT AND WAS HOSPITALIZED THREE TIMES WITH INFECTIONS, SO I WAS VERY WEAK AND COULD NOT WORK.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

MY NEED TO RETURN TO SOME SORT OF NORMAL LIFE. I HAVE WORKED STEADY FOR THE PAST 32 YEARS, SO WORK IS NORMAL FOR ME. I HOPE TO FIND SOME SORT OF PART TIME WORK AFTER I RETIRE FROM MY FULL TIME JOB.

What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?

TELL YOUR FAMILY OR FRIENDS (WHOEVER IS CLOSE TO YOU) WHEN YOU ARE HURTING, SAD, DEPRESSED, SCARED OR WHEN YOU DON'T WANT TO DO SOMETHING, DON'T PRETEND AND BE HONEST! ASK FOR HELP, THIS A BLESSING AS MUCH FOR YOU AND FOR OTHERS. PRAY, PRAY,PRAY AND ASK FOR PRAYER FROM OTHER, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. START A JOURNAL AND WRITE DOWN YOUR FEELING WHILE GOING THRU TREATMENT.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

FOLLOW THE DOCTOR'S INSTRUCTIONS AND READ AS MUCH AS YO CAN HANDLE ABOUT CANCER AND HOW TO DEAL WITH SIDE EFFECTS. I STAYED AWAY FROM STATISTICS AT FIRST.

If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?

KNOW YOU BODY, IF ANYTHING, ANYTHING FEELS ABNORMAL SEE A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY NO MATTER HOW INSIGNIFICANT THE SYMPTOMS MIGHT BE. HAVE FAITH AND DO NOT LOOSE HOPE!