I am a two-year survivor of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I wrote for this booklet of survivors shortly after beginning chemo two years ago, and so much has happened in the last two years that it's time for an update.
I spent much of the last two years in complete remission, and have now learned that I am no longer in clinical remission due to a rise in my LDH levels, which are an indicator of tumor activity in my body.
Coping with this cancer has been, as they say, the best of times, and the worst of times. I have found a much deeper connection with my family and a closer walk with my Lord - like a ripple on still water, the effects of cancer have gently fanned out and surrounded all within my circle and touched me and mine in so many wonderful ways.
I found people who were there in the beginning, quickly lost interest. Others who were not close at the time, have come to mean the world to me, and new people have come into my life who are just a joy to my heart!
I found cancer taught me to exercise boundaries that I had never put down before, and to also forgive those who had trampled those same boundaries in the past. I had the opportunity to work a little bit, which I truly loved, and when I had to stop, I found myself grateful for the opportunity.
My approach to life has lost its frantic pace, and allowed me to really enjoy the present moments as they come - that is a good thing.
Editor's note: This article was submitted for inclusion in The Post-Journal's ''Cancer Survivors'' insert, which was published Oct. 25, and was inadvertently omitted from the printing.
I believe local treatment options are very important. I traveled to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia for a second opinion, and found the center to be just awesome, but the travel was exhausting, and chose to begin treatment locally. I also decided to not finish treatment, and for me that was a good choice as I have enjoyed relatively good health the last two years, and did not spend much of it in cancer centers and doctors' offices. Instead I traveled as much as possible, and spent a lot of time with family.
I would not advocate my choices for someone else, but for me it was right, and I would not trade the memories made. Now that I am not in remission, I am in transitional Hospice, and making choices as life unfolds. I have a tremendous faith in the Lord, and fully believe I am going to live for many more years. I have a great oncologist and medical team, and also use complimentary medicine in the form of supplements and Oncolyn. Oncolyn is a herbal tablet I have used most of the last two years, and am now using again. I believe it has kept me well, and I have my doc's blessing, as he cannot argue with success.
What mattered, and what didn't - well, that is easy. First my Lord has sustained me throughout the darkest days and nights of this journey, so my faith is what really mattered.
Second, my advice is to trust your inner voice. For me that would be the Holy Spirit. This guidance will tell you which paths to take, and who to trust. Third, just let go of toxic people. This kind of pain will push your immune system into the ground - you don't need this, and these kind of people will not stay around for the long run.
I hope this is helpful to someone, and may God bless you as you read through this group of brave people's stories from the heart.