World Lymphoma Awareness Day (WLAD) is held on September 15 every year and is a day dedicated to raising awareness of lymphoma, an increasingly common form of cancer. It is a global initiative hosted by the Lymphoma Coalition.
I am a cancer survivor who battled a type of lymphoma. (What is lymphoma, you may wonder? Well, get ready for hard core medical scientific explanation.) Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the lymph system, which is part of the immune system that helps the body fight infection and disease. The 2 primary types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). They occur in both children and adults. Hodgkin lymphoma – most people with Hodgkin lymphoma have the classic form. This means they have large, abnormal lymphocytes (white blood cells) in their lymph nodes. Hodgkin lymphoma is usually curable. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – unlike Hodgkin lymphoma, NHL has a number of different types that form different kinds of white blood cells, such as B cells and T cells. NHL may be slow-growing or aggressive. The most common type of aggressive lymphoma is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.(Ok now that the medical scientific explanation is out of the way. Let’s continue with the story).
My particular lymphoma was an aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It was a difficult battle that I was able to overcome thanks to God, my loved ones, the medical staff, even strangers that donated blood and everyone that had me in their thoughts and prayers. My cancer battle brought a new perspective and meaning to my life, it made me realize that I should not let myself be consumed with the daily tasks of life and ensure that I embrace the very delicate precious gift of life.
For some, the thought of illness or ageing means, the duller and more restrictive we should be and the less fun we should have. It is easy to let the difficulties of life crush the joy away from us. If our life is only about work, home responsibilities, stress, deadlines and trying to solve everything ourselves, then we will feel overwhelmed, which is not part of God’s plan for us. He gave us the wonderful gift of life paired with a good sense of humor so that we may make the best of even the worst situations. I have a frame that says, Live, Laugh and Love and I believe in that. We are supposed to laugh and have fun while being responsible and good natured at the same time. Don’t let life overwhelm you to the point that you forget to laugh and be happy. Remember to laugh and embrace life with a good attitude. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, all we have is now so make up your mind to stay full of joy. May your life be filled with joy, love and laughter every day, even on the difficult ones.