Wellspring is where Alyssa, like so many others found the support, compassion and strength needed to move on with their lives.
In 2001, at the age of 31, Alyssa was diagnosed with a slow-growing, incurable form of lymphoma. Alyssa’s chemotherapy treatment started in 2002, and over the next 15 years, she received treatments twice more, all the while working and starting a family. But Alyssa’s challenges were far from over.
“In 2017, I had a significant recurrence and the lymphoma transformed into an aggressive form, requiring immediate treatment followed by a stem cell transplant. It was an incredibly stressful and intense period, and it took me a lot longer to recover physically, mentally and emotionally than expected.”
Alyssa was initially hesitant to visit Wellspring. “I wasn’t on active treatment, I didn’t look ‘sick,’ and I wasn’t sure it was the right place for me. What I learned is that the wide range of programs, information and people who share the cancer experience meant that I could get help at every stage. Initially, I joined a yoga class, but over time, I participated in support group discussions, Cancer Exercise as well as other supports, and it has been a lifeline for me.
“One of the benefits of having a network of community-based centres is that Wellspring is in tune with what the cancer community needs. While diagnosis and treatments are discussed in detail, post-treatment discussions are often scant. Wellspring changes this by providing support programs for every stage of a person’s cancer journey, from understanding their initial diagnosis to support throughout and after their active treatment.
“Cancer centres do an incredible job of supporting cancer patients and their families through diagnosis and treatment. But once treatment ends, recovery tends to be up to the patient to navigate. Some symptoms don’t have an obvious medical solution. Fatigue, for example can be challenging and last indefinitely.
“I couldn’t put my life on hold and wait for the uncertainty to pass; that might never happen. Instead, I had to figure out how to live well despite the uncertainty of what was ahead. This year will mark the 2oth anniversary of my original diagnosis and I will have doubled the original life expectancy of 10 years that I was given.
“I am so glad I got over my initial hesitation as Wellspring had resources for me for things I didn’t even realize I needed.”