I was diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma, and it was at a very advanced stage. The only symptoms I had were mild abdominal pain, for which the doctor suggested I do an ultrasound and MRI, which revealed the disease.
My initial reaction to the news and treatment
It was a massive shock for me. The day before, I was jogging outside and riding my bike without even thinking about such a tragedy. My family was also surprised and terrified. We all cried for a very long time, but I came to the conclusion that I had to fight and think positively.
For the treatment process, I went through 6 chemotherapy blocks, steroid therapy and surgery.
And since it was an advanced stage, I stuck to what the doctors told me and did not follow any alternate treatments.
My emotional well-being during the treatment
I only thought positively. I started to vent my emotions by painting – pictures first -and now I’m creating customs. I talked to my relatives, and I saw that when I smile, it is easier for them to bear it all, so I did not allow myself to have bad emotions. Sometimes it was tough because I had huge mood swings due to treatment, but luckily I rarely had terrible moments mentally.
My support system through the journey
My family was my most incredible support. My mother was with me in the hospital all the time I was treated. My sister was visiting me through the window with my father. My aunt was cooking lunches, and my godmother called every single day, my boyfriend organized adoration in the church and would come to the window even when it was snowing up to his knees. My best friend and her mother became the closest family to me and supported us all as much as they could. Friends from school were organizing a rosary at school. My classmates made me feel better. I had a massive army of people who took me out of the hospital as much as they could.
My experience with the doctors and the other medical staff
I found a very good doctor. She was incredibly thorough, and I felt very safe. Only occasionally, I was angry that the medical staff gave very little information about my health, but their care compensated for it. Nurses were loved and came whenever I needed them.
My first feeling when I heard that I was cancer-free
This feeling is indescribable. I was there before the operation when the doctor came to me and said that the test results were very good. She hugged my mother, and I cried with happiness. Later, for Christmas, I got the best gift document with “cancer cells not detected.”
Things that kept me motivated
My family and relatives were a massive support to me during the hard times, and when I did feel low and tired, my dreams and plans for the future, a better future, kept me motivated and got me through the struggles. I’ve always known that. I am a warrior, and when I entered the ward, I said, “I am strong; I will never give up.”
Life lessons that cancer taught me
I have certainly learnt to appreciate every moment, not to complain. I saw that appearance is not the most essential thing in life and that I have the best people around me who I had not appreciated so much before. I am also trying to eat healthier than before, and definitely, I appreciate every single moment of my life.
Life after cancer
I make up for this period of time that was taken out of my life, and I take handfuls of everything I can. I don’t waste a handful of everything I can. I don’t waste my time, and I do everything to make my dreams come true and not to regret not doing something.
I did wonder in my head about why this was happening to me. However, later I thought that if it weren’t for me, someone else would have to suffer, so I felt sad and thought that maybe I was just special. that I did nothing wrong because even children who are five years old are sick and it’s not anyone’s fault.
The importance of support group
It is huge. When you have contact with people who go through the same things as you, you feel less alone, and you feel understanding. It gives great hope if someone manages to recover from the disease and tells you that you too can do it. Unfortunately, I really regret that I didn’t know any; it would have helped me a lot and given me additional hope for a better tomorrow if I had involved myself in it during my journey.
The stigmas attached to cancer and the importance of awareness of it
In Poland, the topic of cancer is a huge taboo. When someone hears that he is sick, he is paralyzed by fear. I think you should be loud about it, to examine yourself, to observe your body. It should also be said to help people who are sick and their families.
You feel less alone, and you feel understanding. It gives great hope if someone manages to recover from the disease and tells you that you too can do it.
My advice to cancer patients
If there is one thing that this experience taught me, it is that It’s all for something and all we can do is learn from it. My one strong advice to cancer patients is Never never, never give up! Remember that the sun always comes out after a storm.