I am 15 and was diagnosed with lymphoma the first day of summer. all I ever wanted in life was to be an average girl and fit in at my new school, but as soon as that goal came close, my life got flipped upside down. The intensive chemo I go through messes with my mind and I have gone into psychosis and committed a lot of self harm because of how mad I was at my body. I hate the way I look now, the medicine made me gain 40 pounds, i had to stop dancing, my hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes fell out, and everything I looked forward to was taken away. People I knew in the hospital have died, and I can barely cope with that, knowing the doctors that couldn’t help them, help me consistently. I isolate myself from everyone because I don’t want them to see me, but at the same time, I feel so hopelessly lonely. a month from now, I will have finished treatment, but I don’t know if my thoughts will ever recover like everything else.
- To start, let’s talk about how incredibly strong and brave you are to go through and experience what you have and find the strength to reach out to us here at TeenCentral. That is so incredibly difficult to do. Feel proud of yourself! You have already accomplished so much.
- Facing lymphoma, or any serious medical condition, can push you to the edge of your ability to cope. It sounds like you’ve been there. Not only is the condition itself so serious, but the treatment is also a test of anyone’s will to survive. We’re so sorry you’re going through this, but also humbled by how strong you are as you go through this journey. We’re thrilled for you that the treatment will be done in four weeks! Between now and then, it’s more important than ever that you keep your support system CLOSE! If you ever feel like you can’t talk to someone (like it’s 3 am and you can’t sleep, but everyone else is asleep) there is ALWAYS someone that will listen. You just have to call 1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741.
- Do you ever talk about these feelings with a trusted friend or family member? Is there anyone in your life that you feel comfortable enough to talk to and trust? Maybe an older sibling or family member? Many times, people going through chemotherapy build a strong bond because of what they’re going through. We know a lot of hospitals offer counseling and support in many ways. Perhaps this is something you could ask your parents and doctor about.
- Please take some time to explore our resources under the “Learn” tab and the “Tools” tab on our home page. Here you will find resources about Grief & Loss, Depression, and Self Injury. You will also find some guides and activities for creating your own support plan, social skills, self positive talk, and managing your own depression. We hope these resources are helpful for you.
- You’re body is going through so many changes and reactions to the treatment you’re receiving, and you don’t get a choice about gaining weight, losing hair, feeling sick or having the energy to do the things you love. You DO have choices about how you express your frustration, your anger and your sadness about the situation you’re in. You have chosen to self-harm to express your anger about your body’s changes, but we wonder if you could choose a different way to channel and express that anger that doesn’t involve hurting yourself? Could you pick up a pen or pencil and journal these feelings? Could you create an angry, colorful, expressive piece of art? Could you find a dance performance that speaks to you? Check out the Self Injury section of LEARN for some additional information. Expressing your emotions is so important in a time like this, but we hope for you that you can find a way to channel that anger differently.
- You said that you used to dance. Could you try some easy stretching and exercising to help build your stamina again so that, hopefully one day when you can get yourself back into it, you’re ready to embrace this activity you love again? Under our “Tools” tab you will find more great resources for yoga under “Stretch Yoga Pose” and even a Yoga Journal. You will also find information about overall Wellness in our “Learn” tab.
- You have to adapt FOR NOW. In one month, your life may change course again – we hope better days are in your future! Until then, some other things to consider are art such as painting/drawing, crafting, crocheting, getting outside and exploring nature or even just enjoying a nice walk. Fresh air can really aid in calming the nerves and mind. Best of luck and we wish you a full recovery!!