Trying to Survive: Kelly's Inspirational Fight Against Lymphoma, Part II

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This two-part article was written exclusively for LymphomaInfo.net by Kelly James. Kelly discusses how being diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin's lymphoma changed her life and how her recovery has been an unexpected process of emotional healing.

Click here to read Part I.

I’ve learned to slow down and to spend quality time with those I love the most. I’ve learned that good health is a blessing and should not be taken for granted. I’ve learned to be more aware of those in need and to pay forward the kindnesses that I’ve received. Seeking out others who have been down the same road and taking their advice and encouragement to heart has been so beneficial to me. I believe that someday I will feel like a survivor. Someday, I’ll be ready to shout it out from the rooftops. What a joyful day that will be!

Not like the Movies

To those just beginning on this journey, I’d like to share just a bit of what I’ve learned. Cancer usually isn’t like we see in the movies. There are highly effective medicines to manage the side effects of the chemo drugs, and remember that most of the side effects go away when the chemo stops. As the chemo destroys the cancer cells, it will also assault other rapidly dividing cell like your hair follicles, your digestive tract from top to bottom, and your white blood cells. Throughout your treatment, ask questions, then ask them again and again until you feel as comfortable as you can with what’s happening to your body.

Keep a weekly journal listing medicines, their effects, and any complications, because by the end of treatment, the previous months will be a blur. It’s okay to feel sick and down, but know that maintaining an overall positive outlook is crucial for recovery. In the words of my pastor, some of life’s storms we will see rolling in from a distance, and some will crash over us without any warning. I pray that this storm that I never saw coming, has subsided and I pray that I can find purpose in this new chapter of my life. I look forward to watching my children grow up and to growing old with my best friend, my love. God willing, I will survive, surviving.

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