At Weill Cornell Medical College we have the privilege of helping thousands of people every year. Everyone has a story and we would like to highlight some of those stories here. For this issue Jasmine Sanabria answered some questions about her response to her diagnosis with follicular lymphoma.
1. How did you tell your family? How did your family react when you told them you had lymphoma?
Telling my family I had lymphoma was a terrifying moment for me. Seventeen years ago my father passed away from lung cancer and living through it with him wasn’t easy on any of us. I knew the first thing they would think of was me suffering and dying.
I told everyone individually. I spoke with confidence and reassurance, that I was going to be fine and here for a long time. I explained what follicular lymphoma was, and how much modern medicine has improved. Everyone was sad, but were reassured that I was in the BEST hands with Dr. Peter Martin and the lymphoma team at Weill Cornell Medical College.
2. How do you deal with stress?
Dealing with stress is not easy. I considered going to a support group, but I couldn’t find one that worked within my schedule. Therefore, I decided the best way to deal with stress was to continue my regular schedule and keep my mind occupied. I soon realized that I already had the BEST support group between my family and coworkers. When I’m down and out, I always have an ear to listen to me and a shoulder to cry on. Without them I would be a wreck.
3. How do you remain positive?
Staying positive is my motto. I’m a firm believer that your mind is powerful and if you believe you’re sick, you’re always going to feel sick. Every day when I wake up I tear up a little and look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘I have lymphoma but lymphoma doesn’t have me!’ I try to start every day positively and without any negative thoughts! I don’t think, ‘I have lymphoma I’m a sick women! Why me?’ I start every day positively with a smile. Still, I have days where my body screams STOP! Those days I listen to my body, but they’re rare.
4. What did you do to prevent/reduce nausea? Describe favored foods, routines.
When I was diagnosed with lymphoma my goal was to stay positive throughout. As a thirty-one year old with an almost two year old son and an amazing husband was all I needed to stay positive. When I have my not so great days and I contact Dr. Martin’s office their response is always reassuring. that makes me feel like it’s a bump in the road but everything is going to be okay.
Luckily for me nausea hasn’t been a HUGE issue at all. I use zofran to ease the nausea or sometimes I will eat something sour like a pickle or lemon to help make it go away.
5. How did lymphoma affect your diet?
Lymphoma hasn’t changed my diet at all. I still eat everything that I enjoyed before. Again I always think if you think you’re sick your body will feel that you’re sick.
6. What did/do you do to remain physically active?
I’m not a person who exercises at all. I’m not a fan of exercise however I continue to commute to work using mass transit and I work the floor at my job five days a week in order to stay physically active.
7. Describe how you dealt with any other changes in your lifestyle after your lymphoma diagnosis.
Since being diagnosed with lymphoma my life has changed drastically in the sense that I have to take more precautions. This means wearing a protective mask in public spaces or during the flu season, or having to adjust my daily routines due to side effects from my treatments. Missing work because I’m not feeling well or have appointments or just having an amazing day and then feeling exhausted after a half a day at work. I never knew how strong of a women I was until I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma. Luckily for me my support system at work and at home are amazing. As odd as this sounds I’m lucky to have been diagnosed with lymphoma at Weill Cornell Medical College. I’m in the BEST care I could ever have asked for and am lucky to have Dr. Martin and his team taking care of me.