26 years, lymphoma at the age of 16, survivor and board member of the justASKus association
Experiencing a cancer disease at a young age is an incisive experience for the development of every person affected. I was also confronted with this fate at the age of 16. I felt prepared by the treatment team for the upcoming chemotherapy and everything that goes with it. However, no one prepared me for the time afterwards.
The time as a survivor was characterized by the desire for normality. To leave the time as a child with cancer behind and to live like a “normal” teenager. At the age of 23, however, I noticed that I was different from others. Increasing hormonal changes, especially symptoms similar to menopause, became an enormous emotional burden. My everyday life was increasingly characterized by night sweats, emotional fluctuations, hot flashes and hair loss. My medical marathon began with the search for help and finding the cause. I sought three opinions. None of them could help me or make me feel understood. From the approach of a post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by the cancer to the absolute infertility and already occurred menopause, the statements and the therapy approach were very different. However, no one could really help me. Now I was 23 years old and had to deal with the thought of not having children of my own? To never get pregnant? To come to terms with the fact that all these symptoms were limiting me and to continue my life like this? Or was it me? Was it perhaps me that was the problem? Am I imagining things, too? Questions upon questions.
As a last glimmer of hope, I sought advice from my former oncologist who then referred me to the Ask consultation. It was not easy to take this step again. I was afraid of not feeling understood again or of going home again without being helped. Fortunately, my fears did not come true. I finally felt understood and appreciated both in my role as a former cancer patient and as the young woman that I am. Time was taken for my story, for me and for my problems. I myself was able to determine what my goal of this consultation was and accordingly measures were planned to achieve this. The most important thing, however, was that there was an answer to all my questions, which had not been given to me before. That chemotherapy can have an influence on hormones, among other things, even years later, was only clear to me after the discussions, but how should doctors for general care who are not specialized in this field know better?
Thanks to the Ask consultation I was able to regain my quality of life and who knows, maybe I will become a mother in a few years.