I was a marathon runner. Ran two marathons, a 30K and half marathon the year of my diagnosis in 2011. I am writing this on World Lymphoma Awareness Day because it seemed fitting in my case. I was fit, young and in my prime. I was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma. Following my bone marrow biopsy, I was Stage IV. How did this happen? I went for routine check-ups. I ate well, exercised and did everything right. I shared my years of night sweats with my doctor during my annual visits. Everything was checked. I had an enlarged node in my groin and my blood levels were perfect. I had NO symptoms other than the night sweating and one enlarged node. Nothing was screaming cancer…. not on my body and certainly not on paper. Everything appeared to be normal. How did this go missed? It just did….plain and simple. I cannot be cured and am currently in treatment. Chemo was hard on this body and so is the Rituximab maintenance but I can see the end of the tunnel. Early next year, I will be done my Retux maintenance. Then what? I did watch and worry for a year and a half when first diagnosed. It was tough. No one prepared me for how difficult Cancer would be mentally and emotionally. I was up for the physical challenge. I was a marathon runner quite familiar with pushing my body to its limits. I had felt pain. I could do this. The mental and emotional aspect of Cancer was something I wasn’t prepared for. My spouse, 12 year old daughter and 10 year old twin girls were also not prepared for this journey. We were now a cancer family. I lost my mom to cancer in 2005. She was 60. I was now on the other side of the fence and didn’t like it. This is a tough journey…on the patient, family and friends. Cancer is now part of my life and will be for the rest of my life. I am a fighter and will fight this disease. I want to run another marathon once my treatments are done and once I am strong again. My spirit is strong and forever will be! I am not fighting alone… there are many that pick me up when I am down. I am thankful to all that take time to just say, ‘hey…. I was thinking of you and just thought I’d say hi’. That means the world. Just a TOU on my phone lifts my spirits and energizes me to keep on with my fight.
Mayra, Follicular Lymphoma, Quebec, Canada