Abby J. on August 3, 2022
I was Diagnosed with:
Non Hodgkins Lymphoma
Type and Description of Treatments:
As a result of my diagnosis, I went through brain surgery in order to begin treating 1 of 2 brain tumors. The surgeon was able to only extract 1 tumor (successfully) but the other was in a precarious position so was treated by chemotherapy for 8 months. I am happy to report that there is no evidence of disease some 2 plus years later.
How do you feel today?
Emotionally, I am relatively content as a result of anti depressants, a great psychotherapist who specializes in PTSD & medical marijuana. I have changed my diet & am doing my best to adhere to the Mediterranean diet. I have been actively engaged in exercise classes (virtually) for the past 2 years & continue doing same today. In addition, I have planted & am growing food for our local Foodshelf who have been so helpful to me on the past.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?
Since my diagnosis, everything has changed in my life... my career, my health status, my relationships with friends some of whom have stuck it out with me & others who have "ghosted" me. My family however, are living in the same town as I do which is new since my diagnosis. They have been a tremendous support & both my sons are now married & a grandchild is on the way.
What is going well for you right now?
Being closer in proximity to my sons & their families & my health.
What is not going well for you right now?
I still struggle with low self esteem/worth as well as some residual cognitive challenges which are part of my disability. I am financially challenged as well.
What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?
Good question.... I think its the fact that the cancer can return at any time or take on another form... trying to maintain my health and being proactive is a daily requirement for me even if I don't feel like it.
When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?
My therapist has been an invaluable support person as well as my family & the friends who have stuck by my side. I am also a gardener so I tend to be in the garden in order to re-group.
How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?
For the 1st time in my life, I don't have long term goals. Cancer has shown me that living in the moment is what I need to do more of, which has itself been a challenge. I am a planner by nature & learning how to create down time for myself goes against everything I know. I'm trying though!
What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?
I have started my own business which I put in many more hours than needed. I dedicate myself to working from 11:30 am - 3:30pm although am adaptable to clients needs.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?
Again, everything. I have learned to recognize how "toxic" previous my workplaces were & to re-create for myself, a career/job that leaves me feeling proud of my work at the end of a work day. My challenge is being patient mostly with myself & to accept that trying to be perfect does not have a place in my world anymore.
What has helped you continue to work the most?
My drive to connect & to be support for others.
What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?
Be gentle with yourself & take the time to really re-examine your priorities. If you need to take a nap, do it... I guarantee you'll feel better afterwards. Know that this too shall pass & that you are doing the very best you can during a crazy period of your life.
Another cancer patient told me, "Rather than trying to fight cancer, try learning to surf the waves that dip & swell... go with the current, not against"
How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?
I was fortunate in not having horrible side effects but I did use medical marijuana to help especially with the nausea, bone pain & difficulty sleeping.
If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?
I am here for you, really here for you.