Thursday, September 01, 2011

September is Lymphoma Awareness Month

September is Lymphoma awareness month. I never imagined that I would have to necessarily become “aware” of this time of year. Since my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this past July, I have become aware of many important related events and dates; lymph node biopsy surgery, catheter placement surgery, bone marrow biopsy, chemotherapy appointments, doctor’s follow-up appointments, medication refills, weekly blood-work, etc, etc, etc.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer originating from white blood cells called lymphocytes. Each year, there are on average 8,500 new cases of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the United States. Prognosis is generally good, with effective treatments like chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. I have received three chemotherapy treatments so far. I have ten more to receive over the course of six months. While I wish I never cancer, or had to receive chemotherapy, I’m grateful that I have access to the treamtments. I won’t call it “poison” as many do. I realize it’s benefits and adverse effects, but it’s important for me to embrace everything, the good and the bad. As long as chemotherapy rids me of cancer cells, I can deal with the rest.

There are good days and not so good one’s on my journey through C. I find myself slowing down a bit, as fatigue is slowly creeping up as a result of me being anemic, due to Hodgkin’s, and also as an adverse effect of chemotherapy. I’m fortunate however that this, along with occasional nausea are the only side-effects I have to deal with at the moment. My hair has not fallen out yet, but I keep it shaved because I expect it to at any given day. By many accounts, including my doctor's, I am a survivor. Many people who receive chemotherapy, even after the first, experience horrible side-effects almost immediately. As I approach my fourth treatment in a couple of weeks, I am fully aware of my blessings. I only hope I continue on this path of success though chemotherapy and cancer.

Lymphoma awareness month-- hmph. I am hyper aware of my resilient spirit—a gift from God, my inner strength, will to live, my determination to remain creative and not let chemo or cancer rob me of the things I enjoy in life. I am aware of all those who are in pain and suffer with and through cancer. I am also aware of those like myself, who fight the good fight, looking forward to the day when we reach the other side of this disease and can fully claim our victory. Lymphoma awareness month makes me aware of all that I am, and all that I have yet to become. When this is all over, I will be a better human being in more ways than I can know now.

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