How life can change

No doubt that having any cancer diagnosis is life changing, and when I received my diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma 12 years ago I didn’t realise how much it would change. I thought I would be able to return to my old life once treatment finished, but I never regained my old fitness, was unable to return to work because of long-term effects, and never returned to my music activities because of back pain.

On World Lymphoma Day it is worth assessing the good things that have come from my illness. I know that most of my friendships are much stronger, and I now have my Bloodwise and McMillan friends too. I have been able to admire changes in scenery while travelling by train through Europe, as I can no longer fly. Because of my enforced early retirement I am able to meet older friends for lunch (very rarely go out late now) and volunteer for Bloodwise, which has almost given me a new career!

The biggest bonus was that when my daughter gave birth, first to my grandson, then two years later to my granddaughter, I was able to spend a couple of days a week helping with childcare, going to playgroups, the park, musical picnics at Birmingham Symphony Hall and treating them to the occasional lunch out. Now they are at school we don’t see them as much, but have an amazingly close relationship. I often get Whats App voice messages from my granddaughter telling me of something special she has done at school.

How has life after treatment changed your life? Has it led to a new career, a new hobby, a house move? It would be interesting to hear some stories.

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Hi, thanks so much for posting World Lymphoma Day. Yes, a cancer diagnosis really is life changing and I really do agree with you life really has changed for me over the last 15 yrs and it is worth celebrating the good things that have sprung up on World Lymphoma Day.
Firstly, my diagnosis made me actually get round to writing my will, funeral arrangements and most importantly my funeral music and celebration.
Secondly, it has given me such an opportunity to look at how I tick and really get to know myself, what are my wants and needs etc.
Having been on watch and wait I have had to learn how to manage the symptoms I was diagnosed with, mainly fatigue. I worked for the first 5 yrs after diagnosis, but that was just working, running a home and sleeping. Now I am very lucky enough to be able to be a lady that lunches and occasionally goes to matinees I have lost a few friends over the years and gained some priceless ones. Also like @Pisces56 I have gained this wonderful Bloodwise and Ambassador family who understand and support me as only they can.
I do not do evenings and occasionally need a nap in the afternoons. I also do not care what I look like now, I also have a skin cancer crater on my head. This not caring freedom means I have joined my local, non posh, very friendly, gym and for the first time in my life, at 69yrs old, I do classes like Pilates and Zumba and hopefully improve my fitness to help me fight anything the future might bring.
I also gained severe osteoporosis a few years back and with the fear of ending up wheelchair bound we moved from the best house in the world to the best flat in the would which is nearer town (and the gym). My son has also just moved into a really lovely home of his own.
To sum up in one word what my diagnosis has given me it is ‘choices’, not perhaps all the choices I might want, but some jolly good ones which I really appreciate. My cup runneth over with yummy hot chocolate.

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Thank you both for sharing your thoughts looking back at the impact and changes that have come as a result of your blood cancer.

I wonder if some other forum users have something to share, whether they have lymphoma or not? @AnnaMam @Nichola75 @LeanneCMLx - do you have anything to add?

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I’m still pretty early on in diagnosis but still, at this stage, I’m starting to try and focus on the positive changes that have come about following my diagnosis of follicular lymphoma nearly three years ago. There is no doubt about it that it truly is life changing and I’m learning that more every day. You learn an awful lot about yourself, how you hope in stressful situations and how you manage with the uncertainty. All of the above still provide so many challenges and I’m sure they always will. For me, the most important thing has been just enjoying the little things. The girls nattering non stop about their day, eating dinner as a family, days out and holidays but most importantly just making time to be around the people I love. Its never going to be the same, it’s always going to be hard but If it makes me appreciate those little things that little bit more then it’s worth getting up and facing the challenge - however difficult that may be xxx

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Thanks for sharing Nichola, I’m sure many of our forum members will relate to what you have said.

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