If your lymphoma comes back, you may experience many of the same emotions you did when you were first diagnosed. Shock, disbelief, anxiety, fear, anger, grief, and a sense of loss of control are all common and normal. Some people may even find this diagnosis more upsetting than the first one and it may cause you to doubt your original treatment decisions or choices after treatment. Remember that the choices you and your doctor made at the time of your original treatment were based on the information available at that time and that, while it is not an unusual initial reaction, feeling guilt and blame for having made inadequate decisions do not fit into the equation at this point in time.
It is understandable to worry that you will not have the strength to cope with another round of tests and treatments. However, keep in mind that because of your last experience, you are better prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead. For example, patients with recurrent lymphoma have the following resources:
- Knowledge about lymphoma and its terminology, which helps reduce some fear and anxiety related to the unknown
- Familiarity with lymphoma treatments and their side effects, as well as strategies to reduce side effects
- Previous relationships with your healthcare team
- A better understanding of your health insurance
- Familiarity with different sources of support, including family and friends, support groups, and trained professionals
- Experience practicing stress-reducing methods, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends
Remember, your lymphoma was successfully treated once, so it may be successfully treated again. Use whatever support you can to get through this relapse.