Debbie, Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Survivor
I am thankful for my cancer. Sounds crazy, right? But as I reflect 21 years after my diagnosis and treatment, I believe there are ways in which lymphoma changed my life for the better.
I had just turned 34 when I found a strange lump in my abdomen. A CT scan revealed it was not a hernia as my doctor initially believed and indeed was a type of lymphoma. I remember waiting for what seemed like forever for the CT guided biopsy result to see which type of lymphoma I had. There are so many types of lymphoma – which did I have? Was it treatable, could it be cured?
When I did find out that I had an aggressive, but curable, lymphoma, I was relieved. I knew then that it would be a battle, but that I still had a good chance of survival. My kids were two and four years old at the time and I wanted to be there for them for as long as I could be. Each milestone that I could be there for I felt so appreciative of, and I did not (and still do not) take them for granted.
R-CHOP was no picnic. I was hit hard each time with very low white blood cell counts and the exhaustion that comes along with it. I was blessed to have friends and family who would take care of the kids on my worst energy days. With the poor immunity, I would come down with any illness I was exposed to. Unfortunately, that has not changed.
I strongly feel that I have been given this gift of life and I want to give back where I can to help others.
I am thankful for my cancer because it made me not take any day, activity, or event that I do for granted. I appreciate every day I am given. It also deepened my faith, of which I am most grateful for, and I have been volunteering for LRF and my church since I was fully recovered. I strongly feel that I have been given this gift of life and I want to give back where I can to help others.