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A Profile of Hope—Diana’s Story

In the words of Diana, diagnosed with indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2001, and a participant in the Lymphoma Support Network program . . .

My experience with lymphoma

I learned that I had lymphoma when I had been having some gynecological problems and when I complained of some pain in my sides, my gynecologist suggested we give it a few months to see if things would straighten out on their own. In the meantime, I had another routine appointment with my internist, and mentioned that I was still having pains in my sides and told him what my gynecologist had suggested. He felt around and asked me a few questions and believed that my pains could be related to a kidney problem. He sent me to have a kidney x-ray, followed by an ultra-sound which revealed a retro peritoneum mass. I was in shock, I was told to check into the hospital right away, it was the scariest and most sinking feeling I had ever had in my life.

How I became involved with LRF

I decided to join the Lymphoma Support Network after trying another buddy program that didn't provide me with someone who had the same type of lymphoma and didn't know anything about my specific form of the disease. I heard about LRF and began receiving their newsletter. When I received the issue that mentioned the LSN program, I decided to contact them.

My buddy Carol has been heaven sent. She was diagnosed with the same type of NHL and had received some of the same treatments as I had. We are close in age and became fast friends from the time of our first email. She is going through the same things I am, and we are able to be completely honest about our feelings. We don’t have to worry that something we say may cause concern to our loved ones.

Everything she says clicks with me. It has just been an instant bond and an instant level of understanding. And in the most coincidental ways, little things have brought us closer together, even though we are from different areas of the country and lead very different lives. We keep in touch normally a couple of times each week.

As of this writing, I have not been contacted by anyone else but would love to be able to give back to someone else just some of what I have been given through my relationship with Carol. She tells me I am a great inspiration to her but that is exactly what she has been to me! And that experience has been something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

My life now

Now after 32 months of ongoing treatments and only partial responses and periods of new spots showing up, I am finally cancer free. I feel that because it has taken so long for me to receive a positive response, I will be able to help others who haven't gone into remission after their initial treatments. I am living proof that what seems to be impossible, is in fact, very possible after all.

I would absolutely recommend this program to other patients and caregivers. Being able to have someone who truly understands what this is about has been such a wonderful gift to me. I have many friends who are caring and supportive but having someone who has gone through so many of the same things I have gone through, while battling this cancer, brings such relief!

No one truly knows what another person is feeling unless they have walked in their shoes. With LRF's buddy program and with the friendship I have formed with Carol, I feel our shoes are interchangeable. I know I can tell her anything. I know she will understand. I know whatever she tells me about any of her experiences or feelings will also be of help to me. I hope everyone who is touched by this disease will find as many blessings as I have found in this program.

Learn more about or join the Lymphoma Support Network Buddy Program.

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