Survivorship Plateau

Rocquie Member Posts: 860 Member

It has been two years since I was first diagnosed with Lymphoma. I was extremely symptomatic and things moved very quickly after my diagnosis, confirmed by CT scan and needle biopsy. In a state of shock,  I met my Oncologist, had 11 vials of blood drawn, had a bone marrow biopsy, an ultrasound, a PET scan, an echocardiogram, an extraction of an axillary lymph node, and a port placement. Within 2 weeks of my Family Doctor telling me that I more than likely had Lymphoma, I was in the hospital receiving my first chemo, R-CHOP. 

I was not one of the people who sailed through chemo into remission. I had an extremely difficult journey, with many serious side-effects, hospitalizations, blood transfusions, Neulasta injections, infections, including MRSA, so many antibiotics and the side-effects that come with those. I lost my hair and incurred significant peripheral neuropathy. Prior to this, I had never been sick in my life!

I have been in remission for more than a year. I am 3/4 of the way through my maintenance infusions. Yet I seem to have slipped into some kind of funk. Not depression; I am definitely not depressed. But I have been feeling lackluster. And I think I am beginning to understand why.

For the longest, I was dealing with a tangible struggle. I had something to push against, to defeat, sometimes with sheer stubborness.  But the tangible struggle has faded. My critical illnesses seem a distant memory. The ravages of chemo are over. The struggle has lessened and comfort has once again set in. Family and friends see me and think my recovery is miraculous and complete. Everyone has gone home and now I just have the clean-up to do. 

And I find myself pondering my identity. I am no longer a cancer patient who is battling a disease that wanted to kill me. I won! I am struggling with my identity as a Cancer Survivor. Success. I know this is acceptance, but in some ways it is terrifying and hits where I still feel most vulnerable. . .self-confidence. Also, because I went so far from healthy to critically ill, my recovery was dramatic and now it has hit a plateau. I don't want to accept this as my new normal. I want my old normal back. 

So, I am taking measures to take my recovery up another notch. When I see the Doctor this week, I am going to ask for a referral for Physical Therapy. I am still not as strong as I want to be. Our insurance will cover it and I know Doc will make the recommendation if I request it. I have signed up for a Livestrong program at the YMCA; another session will not begin for several weeks. And of course, I am volunteering 2 times weekly (4 hours each) at my infusion center, bringing warm blankets, holding hands, getting snacks, and driving IV poles to the restroom. Additionally, I am in the process of becoming certified as a driver for the American Cancer Society. 

I know there will be good days and bad days, terrible sadness, and joyous elation. Regardless of what life brings me, I want to celebrate it. I never want my recovery to lose its luster. It is a wonderful gift to be celebrated. 

In joy,




  • givingrace
    givingrace Member Posts: 161
    Your a beautiful soul.
    I am a

    Your a beautiful soul.

    I am a firm believer that in order to grow and move ahead we must always remember were we have been. I can really relate what your saying and feeling.  I believe that no matter what the trauma is there will always be a sweet victory after all the dust settles. Go do the yearnings of your heart you have a warrior inside of you that conquered cancer now you can take that strength to others who may not have it until you share yours with them until they can find their warrior in them. Give your love and joy and you will be blessed in so many ways. As for the live strong program ,go for it!!!! Keep enjoying your Life and others as well. 

    I'm proud of you and what you want to do. 

    Hugs ♡