I was diagnosed with Lymphoma (large diffuse B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) in October 2012, and just as in the Leukaemia Foundation’s television advertisement, my first thoughts were: Lymp what? I had never heard of it.
Leukaemia: My Personal Experience of Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in immune system cells called lymphocytes. Like other cancers, lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes are in a state of uncontrolled cell growth and multiplication. Lymphoma may develop in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood or other organs.
Our lives were turned upside down. Due to the advanced stage of the lymphoma, treatment had to start immediately if I were to have any chance of survival. So began twelve months of treatment, extensive chemotherapy, after which the first 16 weeks of, I relapsed and my disease went from Stage II to Stage IV within a two week period. This lymphoma was very aggressive. Another type of chemotherapy was introduced, this one I responded to quite well, but still the lymphoma survived. At this point my specialist decided a stem cell transplant would give me the best hope. More extensive chemotherapy followed, then on July 16th, 2013 I underwent a stem cell transplant. Today, I live in hope that I’ve beaten this disease, but also live with the fact that it could recur at any time!
The Leukaemia Foundation – Tasmania provided us with much support, both in helping us to understand this disease and in advising what to expect during treatment etc. They were nothing short of awesome!
When one is diagnosed with cancer, the immediate stress is huge, but so much more was to follow. Living on the North West Coast, we had to travel constantly to both Launceston and Hobart for treatment. Many were the days I was too sick to travel, so much of the twelve months was spent needing accommodation. Launceston wasn’t so bad, dear friends at Perth put Kev up quite often while I was in hospital, but times I was an outpatient we needed accommodation close to the hospital. As Kev chose to be with me he was no longer working much of the time, so we had no income, the financial burden of fuel and accommodation costs was growing. Enter once more The Leukaemia Foundation – Tasmania, who reduced so much of the stress. They not only began booking our accommodation, but provided financial assistance in paying a percentage of the accommodation costs and providing us with fuel vouchers.
Kev and I give so much thanks to the Leukaemia Foundation – Tasmania for all their care and support, both during and after our ordeal. Not only does this wonderful organisation provide research in the hope of finding a cure, but they provide real help at a grass roots level.
Established in 1975, The Leukaemia Foundation is the only national organisation dedicated to the care and cure of patients and families living with leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders. Leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma can develop in anyone, of any age, at any time. Often with little warning and in acute cases, may require treatment within 24 hours of diagnosis. It turns lives upside down overnight. The Leukaemia Foundation provide personalised support and care for patients and families right throughout their journey – from diagnosis and treatment, right through to recovery… and Kev and I can testify to that!!!
All photos strictly ©Carol Haberle, H&H Photography. You can follow Carol on Facebook at Haberle Photo Cards. Carol writes feature articles for this website about all things Tasmanian. If you’d like Carol to visit you, please contact Think Tasmania.
21 March 2014 – With great sadness, we advise her fans that Carol lost her brave battle with leukaemia today. She will be missed by everyone. Love and Hugs, Sweetie.
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