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Lymphoma FC Supporters Club Meeting

by Tom on September 10th, 2009

Tonight we went to our second Seattle Cancer Lifeline “Lymphoma Networking Group” meeting. It was neat to see some folks that we recognize from our first time, and to be able to share stories with friendly people that have been through this all before.

I feel pretty lucky with how little (in the grand scheme of things) the treatments have impacted my life, and it was nice to hear stories about other folks that have endured similarly well. It makes it feel less unusual; less like there’s some big other unknown shoe that’s going to drop and make recovery harder.

There was also a big discussion about the psychological impact of being a cancer survivor. First there’s the big period of fear and uncertainty while being diagnosed before treatment starts.

Then treatment begins and you get something concrete you can battle. You focus on that fight. You face your own mortality for 6 x 3 weeks.

If things go well, the battle is done and you stand victorious. But then you’re back to uncertainty! Will the lymphoma come back? How much time do you have left? Will the same treatment work if the cancer recurs?

The psychological impact of releasing that intense focus from the treatment paired with facing the large unknown that is recurrence can lead to a ton of stress. I need to be ready for that. To have an answer to the question of “what now”? To not fear.

And, in more physical terms, it is reported that treatment-induced fatigue can last a long time after chemotherapy is finished! Red blood cells live longer than white, and as a result the body doesn’t produce them nearly as quickly. It may be quite some time before I’m back to 100%.

It was encouraging to spend an evening with a big table full of cancer survivors and loving spouses. Lymphoma will always have an effect on our lives, but it’s (mostly) up to us to choose how.

I’m looking forward to being a survivor.

From → Treatment Phase

One Comment
  1. Karen permalink

    Great Tom, thanks for sharing.

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