Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 8

Become Brave W
Learning to
BY CRISTINA DIFRANCO
hen you are diagnosed
with cancer, your world
is turned upside down. It
can be nearly impossible
to believe in yourself, especially
when you discover that your body has let
you down, and everything you thought was true
about you is coming undone. You don't know
what to believe or who to listen to, as you feel as
though you are simultaneously being directed by
everyone and no one at the same time. At a time
when confidence, bravery, and strength are most
needed, it can be difficult to even feel sane and
collected. Taking control of your life and facing
your problems head-on is much more difficult
than running from them. It requires bravery.
It's terrifying to take a leap of faith when you
are afraid that you will leave behind something
good and have regrets. But sometimes, you
must be brave enough to opt for change to see
something truly great happen.
At the time of my cancer diagnosis, I was
avoiding almost everything in my life. I had a
slew of health issues and visible tumors growing,
yet I put off going to the doctor by brainstorming
excuses for every physical symptom
I experienced. I was in a toxic relationship
with red flags all around me, and I didn't walk
away. I was anxious and feeling lost in my new
post-college life and didn't address it.
I was able to avoid all these problems, but I
couldn't avoid my cancer forever. Cancer teaches
you to be brave, partly because you don't
really have a choice. You face your worst fears
because you have to in order to live. You realize
that life is precious, and you shouldn't waste
time consumed by your doubts and worries.
You learn to face your fears so that you can do
more than just live-you can thrive. There is
a big difference between living and thriving.
Without the fear, there can be no excitement.
My confidence in the face of adversity didn't
arrive the day after my diagnosis. It is a work
in progress that has been years in the making.
I had no idea about what chemotherapy treatment
entailed because I had no family history
of cancer, which made the initial diagnosis
terrifying and confusing. I realized that there
was so much information about my treatment
that I could not possibly consume it all from
just one source. While I leaned on my doctors,
family, and support organizations, I ultimately
had to put my health and well-being in my
8
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Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021

Contents
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Cover1
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Cover2
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 1
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Contents
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Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Cover3
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