Monday, June 02, 2014

June 2, 2014 — Long-Term Survivorship

This excerpt from the online memoir of a follicular lymphoma survivor, Evelyn Lipori, mirrors my survivorship experience — of the journey from panic and fear to a deep assurance of hope. Evelyn is Director of Individual Giving for the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

There’s quite a difference, as Evelyn points out, between the days right after diagnosis...

“I was only 37 years old and the reality of a cancer diagnosis quickly set in. I became consumed with thoughts of dying, of leaving my husband with our two young children, of not being here for graduations and weddings. I was worried I would never see grandchildren.”

...and the relaxed and assured viewpoint of a veteran...

“Over the years, my perception of survivorship has undoubtedly evolved. In the early days, I was simply grateful to have ‘survived’ my diagnosis and subsequent treatments and still be alive. But today it means many things I never quite imagined.

For me survivorship means hope - finding hope through education and knowledge about my disease and giving hope to others by sharing my experience with newly diagnosed patients.

Survivorship means giving back. I've been involved with LRF in various capacities ever since my diagnosis - as an advocate, a volunteer, a board member, a donor, chapter president and most recently in my current role on the LRF staff as Director of Individual Giving.

Most importantly, survivorship means living life to the fullest despite the 'dark cloud' of a lymphoma diagnosis that can seem to follow you wherever you go. So much progress has been made and continues to be made in lymphoma research that there are now treatments becoming available that were barely an idea in someone's laboratory back in 1997. I live each day with the comfort of knowing there are many alternatives should I ever need treatment again.

In the meantime, I've seen my kids grow up, graduate from high school, college and graduate school. John and I just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary and each passing year brings me closer to seeing my children's weddings and the grandchildren I never dreamed I would be here to see.

Cancer survivor? You bet I am!"

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