A Lymphoma Survivor’s Story

I definitely think that being a patient with cancer, you have to be an advocate for yourself, because a lot of times, I think, doctors and caregivers get into the routine of repetitiveness. Every case is different, but sometimes they don’t look at every case as different as they should. You definitely need to make that next step to get a second opinion, find an alternative. If you’re in pain and taking pain meds and they’re not working for you, find an alternative to that pain med. I think being a cancer survivor or a cancer patient, you need to make sure that you don’t get caught up in the illness itself. Take care of yourself and remember that you are a person and that you are not the illness.

Something that I did personally in my mind to kind of get me through it was to know once I finished it, I was gonna be normal again. I had met so many young adults and teenagers who had been diagnosed and who were survivors. I always thought of them, that I would be there someday. Meeting them was probably the best thing that could have happened. A friend who I met turned my attitude around. He said, “You just have to remember that you’re special and that only special people get cancer. And you will be a survivor of it.” Just seeing him and knowing where he was, that I was gonna be there one day, probably helped me more than anything.

Survivorship to me means overcoming, moving on. Not just a survivor of cancer; a survivor of just life in general. It is doing things you want to do and being who you are and making the best of your life. Sometimes I might feel guilty about not maybe living my life to the fullest or getting angry at little things. When I see other people going through things that I went through, and it makes me remember how lucky I am to have finished cancer treatment, to be a survivor of it. I’m Tenise Fernandez, I’m 34, and I’m a cancer survivor. For more stories like Tenise, go to livestrong.org

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