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Coming to Terms with Living with Cancer

Hi, I’m Nichola. I am 43 and married with 2 daughters aged 9 and 13. I work as an assistant head in a primary school. I was initially diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in January 2017 and recieved radiotherapy to my parotid gland following 2 surgeries.

Apparently, follicular lymphoma is a cancer most likely to be found in the over 60s. The lymphoma was only thought to be present in my parotid gland but in a follow-up scan in September 2017 it was noticed in my abdomen, as well.

Helpful shared experiences

I have been on watch and wait since this time. I still feel very out of control and very emotional. Waiting is the hardest part as well as trying not to think about the ‘what ifs’; telling the children and trying not to constantly beat myself up about the way I’m dealing with things.

Reading some of the posts have been so useful in feeling that I’m not alone. Thanks for accepting me to the group and letting me share your experiences.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Carole McCue
    4 days ago

    Hi Nicola,
    You are not alone. Many of us share the same sentiments.
    Our Blood Cancer community provides information and support.
    Wishing you good health.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    4 months ago

    I’m glad you’re able to get comfort out of sharing on this site. We all need to have somewhere to express our feelings. Give yourself a break – we all react to situations like this differently. Try to take a deep breath and stay calm. I will say a prayer that you start in wait and watch mode,.

  • Amber Lynch moderator
    5 months ago

    For me, the hardest part of my diagnosis was the feeling that I was not in control of my own body. I surrendered to my doctors and treatment. Now, gratefully, I am in remission. The waiting for scans and the what ifs can be daunting. Know that you are not alone in your fear.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    6 months ago

    You are definitely not alone. Good luck to you. Wishing you health!

  • canzzert.65
    6 months ago

    I’ve been in “thepeeks&Valleys since 2012,/Watch/Wait,Then6months ago to learn along w,CLL,I have NHL as well ,frozen in time because now immundefietent ,(so fighting for my immune system , Leukemia stole ,I’m only 53,,40yrs when first told ,if it wasn’t for you all sharing ,I’d jump off a short deck 😷😨

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    6 months ago

    @canzzert-65 We’re so happy this forum gives hope, and different reflections, from the many going through various forms of blood cancer. Wishing you well. Best!

  • Nichola75 author
    7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your journey with me. It really does help more than you know x

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    7 months ago

    @nichola75 – Happy Face 🙂

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    7 months ago

    Hello, @nichola75 I have diagnosed at 38 about 10 years ago for multiple myeloma. My road started as watch and wait until I got deathly ill with another condition.
    My research led me to similar stats, a disease more prone to an older community over 70. Well, I’m currently in remission and living in the moment.
    In the beginning, the emotions are part of this new journey, don’t shield it just let it happen. We’re so happy you found this site, all the best! We are here to chat if you need to. Best!

  • Carole McCue
    7 months ago

    Hi Nicola,
    I can truly relate to your experience. I was diagnosed at age 60 with Follicular Lymphoma. I was in shock and angry. Even as an RN, I could not wrap my head around “Watch and Wait”. How can you leave cancer untreated?? After much reading, I discovered that research has shown that overall survival is not affected by early treatment. So depending on the disease progression, treatment will be considered. In my case, my lymphoma continued to grow and I started therapy after 11 months. It was a shakey start but I am excited to report that I am in remission for 5 years🙏🏻🙏🏻
    Nicola, a cancer diagnosis causes a roller coaster of emotions. The hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my adult son. We both cried. Honesty is the best approach.We explained in simple positive terms to our 9 year old granddaughter .
    We joked about my fatigue after the chemo and took full advantage of every moment to enjoy time together.
    I am glad you are now part of the Blood Cancer community.
    Members provide information and experiences but more importantly support.
    Sending you healing hugs. There is life after a cancer diagnosis. In some ways it makes us appreciate the important things like Faith, Family and Friends🙏🏻
    Hugs,
    Carole

  • Ann Harper moderator
    5 months ago

    That’s wonderful that you are in remission. Good luck to you!

  • Nichola75 author
    7 months ago

    Hi there, lovely to meet you! Thanks so much for your reply. It definitely is a roller coaster isn’t it! Twos years on and I don’t think I’ve really accepted it yet – need to get to that point to move starting forward. That’s my next challenge. It’s great to hear you have been in remission for 5 years! X

  • Ann Harper moderator
    4 months ago

    Sometimes not focusing on it helps. Just move forward anyway and try to enjoy each step of the journey.

  • Anthony Carrone moderator
    7 months ago

    Hey @nichola75 – Welcome to the community! I am so glad that you have found other members word helpful in feeling less alone – That is the entire purpose of this community! I want to introduce you to a few of our advocates who truly understand what you are going through. @bobtalisker and @cmccue are both diagnosed with FL and have written some really great articles on their experiences. We are always here for you! Sending positive vibes your way and looking forward to getting to know you more! -Anthony (Team Member)

  • Nichola75 author
    7 months ago

    Thank you so much for your reply and for pointing me in the direction of other useful posts. I really appreciate it 🙂

  • bluchs
    7 months ago

    Nichloa
    You are not alone, the moderators here are very understanding and wonderful.
    Many of us who share in this terrible fate, also are scared.
    Don’t beat yourself up.
    Keep faith, and stay close to your family. Although your children are very young, they will understand your pain, and they will help you deal with it, don’t try to hide it from them.
    Let them be apart of it, it will help them feel, that they are an important part, of your healing, especially mentally.
    Remember. they are scared too! You are the most important person in their lives, they deserve to be a part of your diagnosis.
    It will help you heal.
    May God Bless You, and see you through this very difficult time for you, and your family.
    My son is 38 years old, but he told me
    ” please don’t try to hide your pain from me dad” it just makes it worse!
    “I need to know” He says.

  • Nichola75 author
    7 months ago

    Thank you so much for your reply. It’s helps to read about other people’s experiences. I told the children bits when I had radiotherapy (zapped some bad cells) but at the moment it seems silly to worry them unnecessarily when I’m well. However, on the flip side I know it’s not great to tell them when harsher treatment might be required. It’s a tough one.

  • Nichola75 author
    7 months ago

    Hi there, lovely to meet you! Thanks so much for your reply. It definitely is a roller coaster isn’t it! Twos years on and I don’t think I’ve really accepted it yet – need to get to that point to move starting forward. That’s my next challenge. It’s great to hear you have been in remission for 5 years! X

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