Joanna’s story. ( Non Hodgkins Lymphoma )

To add a variety  to this blog, and ensure that we can talk about as different things as possible I have invited people to share their own experiences, as I am very much aware that a cancer diagnosis, affects everyone differently. Even if we have the same disease and similar treatment, we could well have entirely different outcomes.

In this instance, Joanna has had a different strain, from the same family as mine, and happily, is continuing her life.
I have had so many complications, and five years on I still have them, so this is a good example of what I am talking about.
These are Joanna’s thoughts about her experience with cancer.

“Why was cancer one of the best things that happened to me in life”?
One of the natural things about being a human being is that we like to plan. We plan what we’ll eat for dinner tomorrow, we plan when to get married and have children, we plan our activities around  a football match or decide to become an accountant in 5 years.
The natural aspect about having cancer is that we stop planning. We don’t know what we’ll eat tomorrow, as chemotherapy might make us so sick, that we don’t feel like eating at all. We don’t plan to get married or to have children, as we either might die or become infertile. We don’t decide to be an accountant  as numbers don’t have any meaning to us anymore. Ok, I agree, a football match can still be on the cards;)
Before I got sick, I planned to buy 2 bottles of whisky( which I did) for upcoming Christmas to enjoy it with my family, that was coming from Poland to visit me on that special time of a year. The plans didn’t work out! One of the bottles was drunk by me and my boyfriend on the day I was diagnosed(it actually worked,we laughed, that the doctors will find more alcohol than cancer cells in my bloodJ), Christmas was all about fighting for life in the hospital and the second bottle had to wait until the day I got healthy. And I didn’t know if it will come…
Months of chemotherapy, nausea, headache, anxiety and fear  made a significant change to both my mind and my body. Whenever we think, that life is difficult, we also need to remember that it can always be worse.  We worry about many things and take too much for granted. I used to moan about all necessities of life, but what about the fact, that I AM ALIVE? When I felt nauseous while only looking at or smelling food I realised how great it is just to be able to eat and enjoy a meal. When I felt so bad, I couldn’t even stand up for longer than few minutes I realised how great it was to be able to do the daily routine tasks on my own. We live day by day, wake up in the morning, work through the day, come back home tired, eat, go to sleep and the next day brings the same. Such shame we don’t know how much better it is than lying in a hospital bed thinking of unknown future.
Life is so much more beautiful than we all think. Maybe I had cancer, because my nutrition wasn’t good enough, maybe because I was exposed to some kind of radiation, maybe passive smoking or my family’s genes has caused it. I’ll probably never find out, but I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. My illness taught me to be courageous  and brave. It taught me to smile more and enjoy life(and thai curriesJ). It taught me, that all people in the world are somehow linked to each other and we need to work together to make this life better. What goes around comes around.  And if cancer comes around, you fightJ
P.S. The second bottle of whisky is finished J
  
If you are a person affected by cancer, I don’t know if you recognise any of the above emotions, that occurred for Joanna. I certainly do. Not the whisky though!!! 
Like me, Joanna felt that urge to give something back, and now uses her spare time to help improve the lives of others, affected by cancer.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Joanna. I appreciate how difficult it can be, recalling some of those terrible memories.

The great thing about this blog is that we share experiences and are learning constantly from each other.
If you would like to share your experience, I can happily incorporate you into the blog, just leave me a comment below.

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