During her treatment, she needed blood transfusions because the Hb level in her blood had fallen too low due to chemotherapy.
In 2012 (Bloedverwant 2012, nr. 1), we talked to Esther who has had Hodgkin's lymphoma. We caught up with Esther to see how she's doing now.
The party is already planned. In June, Esther will have been cancer-free for five years. Esther: "I'm completely clear. Monthly check-ups have now become yearly visits. It feels great to have overcome the disease!"
After her cancer treatment, Esther was determined to finish her studies, which she's now done. Esther: "One of the side effects of chemotherapy is that I can't concentrate as well or as long as I used to. So finishing my studies was a great challenge, but I did it. I'm really proud that I've finished my studies." It will be a big milestone in June, but Esther also gets her energy from smaller things. "For other people, the opportunity to work is a very normal thing. For me, though, it's a real victory that I can now go to work and I'm really enjoying it."
Besides getting her certificate and a job, Esther recently bought her own house. "This morning we got the key, a brand new chapter. Exciting, but tiring too." Because Esther still has to work on her energy levels, even though she's been cancer-free for five years. "The only physical issue left over from the disease is that I have slightly less energy. That's why I'm working with a physiotherapist to improve it. But if that's the only thing, I can't complain!"
"Very grateful to the donors"
After one chemotherapy session, Esther's Hb level dropped so low that she needed blood transfusions. "At first I didn't like the idea at all. For example, I couldn't look at the bag of blood during a transfusion," says Esther. Nevertheless, Esther is very grateful to the blood donors. "I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Without the blood transfusions, I'd have had to wait until my Hb level recovered by itself. That would have taken too long. So the treatment succeeded partly through blood donations!" Esther would love to give blood too, but because of her treatment and blood transfusions, she can't. "Now I try to urge as many other people as possible to donate blood. It doesn't take much, but it has such a huge effect."
Esther is confident about the future. "My advice? Stay optimistic. However difficult it is, try to see things which are still good. It doesn't make it nicer, but it does make it easier!"