The fear of relapse and moving on

The fear of relapse and moving on

By Kayla Tremblett

This week marks three years since I found out that I relapsed, and was rediagnosed with mutated grey zone lymphoma. Grey zone lymphoma is a rare mutated combination of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and diffused large B-cell lymphoma (the most common type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) resulting in it being unclassifiable because it doesn’t fall into either cancer category.

I remember being at work and getting a phone call from the hospital, telling me I had a scheduled lung biopsy. I was so confused, I even told the nurse that I think she had the wrong number. Fast forward a few days, and I was sitting in my radiation oncologist’s office, being told I had new tumours in new places.

During our conversation in the tiny hospital room, my oncologist mentioned perhaps I was misdiagnosed from the start, resulting in the relapse as I would have had the wrong chemotherapy cocktail. Part of me was upset that there was the possibility that I’d had a year of inaccurate treatment. I wondered why the doctors didn’t take more biopsies of my tumours, why they didn’t double and triple check. The other part of me, the part that scared me, was that I almost wasn’t even surprised. Yes I was upset, pissed off, and confused but this seemed to be my new normal, so I guess I almost expected the other shoe to drop.

How could I go through a year of hell, a year of poison being pumped into me and my body radiated, to then be told that it didn’t work? I was numb, a little shocked, and I think I even laughed at one point because of how ridiculous it sounded. But there it was, the scans right in front of me — my cancer was back.

Fast forward to now, a place I never thought I’d be. A place where I still struggle with strength, health, anxiety, and depression, but more a place of warmth from all experiences I’ve had, the beautiful people I’ve met, and the places I’ve been. Cancer destroyed my life, but after the dust settled I was able to pick myself up and put away the past, allowing myself to explore and re-discover my life in the present.

Cancer doesn’t define me. I am here and I am creating the life I want for myself, and it is beautiful.

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