Survivorship: Life After Lymphoma
The Lymphoma Australia “Life After Lymphoma” resource has been designed to provide you with practical information to help you manage your follow up care and help you deal with the many different emotions you may be feeling during this time.
The period of time when active treatment stops can be a confusing and overwhelming time for many. “Survivorship” is a common term used to describe this phase. This period of time is not only limited to those who have completely finished treatment and are recovering or in remission, but it may also include those who are on maintenance therapy or ongoing treatment for slow growing lymphoma. It can also include those who are in a “watch and wait” period. Some of the information in this resource can also be useful for those living with lymphoma during the treatment phase and for that reason “survivorship” can also be defined from the point of diagnosis onwards.
Although you may feel happy and relieved that active treatment has stopped, it is common to feel a range of different emotions as you also try to manage all the physical changes and effects to your body. Give yourself the time you need to work through these and be patient. It will take some time to come to terms with everything you have been through and manage any after-effects you may be experiencing. Often during the treatment phase you don’t have the capacity to properly process everything that has been going on because your focus and energies were spent on trying to make it through treatment. When it stops it’s like you get an influx of emotions and feelings, some may call this “post-traumatic stress” – you have been through a traumatic experience and now it’s time to deal with everything that has happened. But remember that it’s not all doom and gloom, many people come through their experiences as a transformed and stronger person and there are many positive outcomes that can come through such an experience. It’s important to remember that there is plenty of help available to support you through this phase. Open communication with your medical team, doctors and family and friends is helpful. You may also wish to speak with a counsellor during this time as sometimes it can be difficult to talk with family and friends about certain topics.
At the end of the day we want you to use this resource to help you take control and drive your health care. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and even suggest what you think might need to be done to your doctors, particularly into the future where you may be seeing a different doctor. Use this resource to load yourself up with plenty of knowledge and start carving your own path towards renewed health!