Caregiver/Cancer Patient Interview (Part 2)
My daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma when she was 25. It’s been a few years since then, but I decided to interview her and hear her thoughts about that time in her life. I asked her eight questions. The first four were included in part one of this interview. The second four are included here. I hope this helps someone else with this disease know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I also hope it helps those of us who are caregivers.
It’s been over a year since you’ve heard the words no evidence of disease, how are you feeling now?
I'm feeling great now but it wasn't always this way. Immediately after I was done with chemo, I went through a really tough time and I don't think enough people talk about how hard life after cancer can be. I never really processed what I was going through while I was in treatment so when I finished, it all hit me at once and I was in a very dark place for a while. It took me connecting with other young adult cancer thrivers to help me get back to a better place in my life.
Looking back on the experience, what advice would you give to someone who is going through what you did?
Lean on others and don't be afraid to ask for help. Everyone will want to help but many don't know how. It's ok to ask for the things you need or feel will help. You don't have to go through this alone!
For the caregivers and well-wishers out there, what suggestions do you have for how they can better help their loved ones?
I think being a caregiver is almost harder in many ways, so make sure you take time to take care of yourself too. Be there for your loved one physically but also emotionally when needed and just do the best you can because that will absolutely be enough.
Luckily, You have no evidence of disease. How is your life different now?
My life is very different than it was pre-cancer. Having cancer gave me a new perspective on life and taught me not to take any good days for granted. I no longer use the words "someday" or "later" because I know that those days don't always come. I truly try to live my life to the fullest and I say "yes" to opportunities far more often than I say no.
As I read Crystal's answers to my questions, I learned a lot about how to help others. Being a caregiver is a hard job because we just don’t know what is needed. We guess and do the best we can, but it can be difficult to know for sure what another person needs. If you are getting help from someone, and need something - tangible or not, ask. I was busy taking care of Crystal’s physical needs but didn’t realize how emotionally vulnerable she was. I’m glad she shared and hopefully, this will help someone else.
Wishing you health and happiness.
How long did it take to be properly diagnosed?