When I got the phone call that the biopsy results had arrived, I was weirdly excited. I wanted to know desperately wtf caused me to have emergency surgery. It would be a relief to know and I was feeling very optimistic. Within 20 seconds of sitting down in Dr Mahendra’s office, he told me that I had a malignant type of lymphoma which is a rare type of cancer and that I would need chemotherapy for 4-6 months. I had no idea what lymphoma was but when he dropped the c-bomb, I realised my worst nightmare was now a reality. I was surprisingly calm. I didn’t cry as I was probably in shock, but I remember just sitting there in silence. My husband did all the talking and questioning which was helpful because I couldn’t speak. Mahendra hugged me at the end of the meeting and I turned away to cry. I cried as I walked out of the hospital and I cried every day for over a week.
My experience so far is that the crying becomes less frequent and you end up crying for different reasons. I cried this morning not because I have cancer but envisaging the moment I tell my parents. The first week after receiving my diagnosis was the most difficult. I wasn’t depressed but I couldn’t stop feeling anxious about chemo and the time leading up to it. I also felt like I had been robbed of my life for the next 6 months. I received the news in the beginning of December and felt like I was also robbed of my Christmas and New Year. What I have learned here is that there is no good time to have a cancer diagnosis and to tell loved ones, but the sooner the better. As soon as you know, you start the process of accepting it. The sooner loved ones know, the sooner they can begin that process too. Once acceptance has been achieved you can then begin feeling more positive about a sh*t situation. This will give you strength which is a great way to start treatment.