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Patients Against Lymphoma

 

Support > Patient-to-Patient > Patient Experiences & Guidance

AJM on the Resolving of Fear Stemming from the Diagnosis of MALT lymphoma

 
I am very scared [about my diagnosis of MALT lymphoma] and don't know what to do. I am waiting for an appointment with an oncologist. Would appreciate any advice.


I was also very scared during the discovery and staging processes. My fear began to subside when I investigated the disease and it disappeared entirely once I became familiar with it.

If you believe only one thing that I write I hope you believe that while I was once in your shoes and very frightened I can tell you with all sincerity only a year and a bit later: I am no longer afraid or scared or worried. In fact: I'm happy and have good reason to be happy. 

I cannot deny you're scared but I question the reasoning you employ to arouse your sense of fear. If you had malignant melanoma or a cancerous lung I'd have far less reason to question your thinking.

You have cancer but consider this:

I can imagine you feel you're marching down a dreary road surrounded and watched with pity on both sides by people who don't have cancer (like yourself not so long ago) and you expect with great anxiety to end up at or very near the same destination the procession is headed and you and everyone marching with you desperately wishes not to go there. 

Far ahead (if you can still imagine) you can see the procession dissolving; marchers here and
there are dropping out of line and clustering with marchers who've discovered they're wearing the same uniforms. 

You can also see that some have collapsed as they march or assemble and those watching from the sides who recognize the fallen are grieved and are quick to pull their friends from the ground and deliver them to the end of the procession where the largest group has assembled for the last time. They'll not march again. They're finished. 

While you've been marching you've been in a state of numbed stupor. There's a larger procession marching nearby but for a ridiculous reason it attracts far less attention and it doesn't have the same stigma and sting associated with your procession.

But just now you happened to look to your side and bellowing in the crowd is someone who looked like they raced ahead trying to get your attention. In fact, as it turns out, they've got new marching orders for you, or rather orders that were so insignificant when you started marching, they were forgotten. 

You were supposed to stop marching and assemble with a very small and unusual group way back. You can't be blamed for failing to recognize where you were supposed to stop; you can't remember seeing any signs and signals to stop-- but you have nothing to do now other than break rank and join your group whom you'll soon see are wearing the same uniform as you,
though yours is torn and filthy and theirs, while torn and worn out are at least clean and mended and many are seen to be smiling and happy--something you haven't seen or felt for a long time. Stop and find out why.

Well, you have stopped, haven't you?

Keep asking questions. It'll all make sense very soon I hope.

Sincerely,

AJM

 
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