Symptoms & Diagnosis
I am Maria Marroquin. I am a two time cancer survivor in my lifetime. With unforgiving side effects from the treatment I endured, my experience has made me incredibly empathetic towards people who are dealing with something similar. The first symptoms of Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are itchiness all over the body, weight loss, and fatigue. You will begin to have bruises and your lymph nodes may swell. As the cancer spreads and grows, symptoms like fever, night sweats and chills, lip swelling, and sore throat will appear.
After having Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I got cured. However, there were still some signs on my body of the disease. I started having severe itching all over my body, even when it was not that hot. I went to many doctors and they told me that it was nothing, but an allergy. It didn’t make much sense as I used to get this feeling every day and in summers more than winters. After the diagnosis, the doctors advised me to go for chemotherapy. I underwent 4 cycles of chemotherapy, after which my immune system started showing signs of improvement. After a month and a half of my treatment, my body began itching again, but this time it was worse as compared to the first time. I also developed bruises on both arms. I visited another doctor who did a blood test to check for anemia and also ordered some tests for other organs too.
I went through a lot of tests and it was a very distressing time for me. I could barely eat and my hair started falling out. Thankfully, my treatment was successful. It’s been years since then and I am finally cancer-free! All these years later, my hair has been growing back and the symptoms have all subsided.
Side Effects & Challenges
After a treatment when I was diagnosed with cancer, it was clear that my cancer was advanced, so I decided on a different and agonizing way to fight it. I underwent surgery and chemo, but they didn’t work very well. Later on, I tried some other treatments and got rid of the cancer cells, but unforeseeable events happened during my treatment: I fell down and injured my knee, which made me immobile. My financial situation also became worse so that further treatments were impossible for me. As a result, I had to take care of myself.
Effects of chemotherapy for cancer include fatigue, unplanned weight loss and mouth sores among others. If a patient has a headache, fever, or chills along with a change in mental status, he or she may be suffering from an infection, so notify your doctor immediately. If a patient is having difficulty breathing during or after chemotherapy, call an ambulance immediately since this may lead to life-threatening complications.
During my hormone therapy, I experienced a few side effects, such as: hot flashes, night sweats and blurry vision. Luckily, most of these side effects went away after about 6 months. At one point my hair started falling out, but after a while it grew back in volumes than before!
Support System & Caregivers
During my time of need, I noticed that my family and friends really stepped up to provide moral support. My boyfriend shaved his head to show solidarity with me during chemotherapy. People often wonder whether it’s better for caregivers and supporters to reassure patients about their appearance or focus on encouraging them throughout the treatment process and so on. I believe it depends on the situation. They can reassure them, but can also distract from the seriousness of what’s going on by providing different types of entertainment such as playing games, signing songs!
Everyone who undergoes chemotherapy experiences many feelings. Many people have described it as the hardest thing they have ever gone through, but in my opinion, that’s not true. It is more than just that. Some people can be stronger than others and some people will lose the fight. However, no matter what happens during the chemotherapy, don’t forget about the support system of your loved ones around you. I had an excellent support system and caregivers who guided me along my path to recovery. I am so thankful for the support that came from my husband, family, and friends!
Post Cancer & Future Goals
The past years have seen me through one of the most difficult times in my life. My cancer diagnosis was a shock to me and everyone else, and for a long time it was all about surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. I would never have believed that the end result could be positive. Today, I am leading a happy and active life. Not only has this changed my mindset forever, but it has also made me realize how important family really is to me. In fact, even though there were times when I wanted to be alone because I felt so miserable, my family just wouldn’t leave me alone, which made every minute so much more bearable. Now that I am on the road to recovery and fearlessly going where life takes me, I can honestly say that my future goals are centered around happiness.
Some Lessons That I Learned
One of the things that make me happy is to be with my family, especially now when everything is going well. Although cancer has taken away a huge part of my life, I am happy that it can’t stop me from achieving my dreams. The most satisfying thing about this is that I am getting along well with others and have become friends with them.
Cancer was not easy on me. It was one of the hardest things to deal with, but that is what I have learned from throughout it all. That phase was the worst time in my life, but now that I am over it, I am happy. My family was there for me through everything and they renewed my energy to achieve more things in life. Life can be hard sometimes, but if you just follow your heart then everything will fall into place right before your eyes. I have also been through the roughest time of my life and it was totally different from how you imagine. I hope that this story can help you in some or another to better grasp the thought of dealing with cancer and its effects.
I know you are scared, but don’t let that stop you from doing what is right. Remember all the good qualities about yourself and keep moving forward like you always do. What seems impossible today will be a reality tomorrow if you give it time. This is just one chapter in your life. There will be many more opportunities for you to prove yourself and make someone proud of you again!
This message is just to wish you luck and have a positive attitude regarding your cancer diagnosis. In fact, I would like to share that don’t take the treatment as unusual. Take it positively and good things will start to happen. I have seen the treatment work. I am confident that you will achieve your goals, if you follow the prescribed treatment, and move forward with determination. Be positive and think good thoughts, and things will start happening all good to you!
And, the treatment is really not that bad, the thing that really matters is you stay positive with the treatment and yourself. Remember only good things will happen, as long as you take it in a positive way.