Lymphoma is a life-changing event and it should be recognized as such. There are a number of milestones that you can recognize both during and after treatment that can help you put your lymphoma experience into perspective. For example, many people find it meaningful to recognize the one-year and five-year lymphoma-free milestones. Others include the end of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Anniversary dates may trigger a variety of emotions. You and your support team may feel emotions of fear and worry leading up to these dates, and then relief and joy afterwards. Taking time to recognize your anniversary dates and preparing yourself for them can help you reflect on your experience and address the emotions as they surface.
It is also important to recognize family members, friends, and members of your support team who experienced your lymphoma in their own way. They may not necessarily feel the same way as you do about celebrating milestones so it will be helpful to discuss your different perspectives and needs before the day arrives.
Also remember that over time, your need to celebrate your milestones will likely change. The grand celebration for the first anniversary may not be as appealing to you four years later. On the other hand, some people take a long time to recover a sense of normalcy after a serious illness such as lymphoma. It is important to realize that your needs and circumstances can change over time.
Recognizing important milestones is very personal and individualized. However you choose to acknowledge these dates, make sure that it feels comfortable to you. If you recently finished treatment, you may not be ready for a big gathering or a celebration, especially if your treatment was long and difficult. In this case, you may prefer to simply reflect on the memories, but not necessarily celebrate them. On the other hand, a big celebration with family and friends might be just what you want and that is perfectly OK.