Perceptions…

Hot Air Balloon 0734Before cancer we tend to be naive about life and death… We know, logically that everyone dies, but we often never seriously think it’s going to happen anytime soon. We know we’re not immortal, but we don’t want someone to tell us that it could happen and it could happen sooner than we want.

That was my life until my family doctor had to burst my bubble…

From there I went straight into “rabid dog in corner” mode and it was UGLY! Anger was my friend and fear added to that created a blind rage that carried me through most of my treatment. It’s not generally recommended, but it was all I had.

I read books on finding hope and the Bible, as well, but found no solace in either. I was beyond reason, just wanted a way out, and didn’t care how I found my way out.

During the early days of cancer, fear consumes us and we want relief that seems to be nowhere. I don’t know about you, but I wanted concrete answers and guarantees… Which no one will give you. It was a vicious circle and this can often be the case.

If you’re newly diagnosed, you often are looking for guarantees and hope, which no one can give you (even for those without cancer). Once you’re in battle, you need to focus on that and try not to allow setbacks destroy you.

I’ve also noticed that those fighting a recurrence have a different mindset… More of the seasoned veteran going back into battle and this is overwhelmingly inspiring to someone like me. I’ve watched friends with this “kick butt” attitude live a vibrant life with cancer.  These individuals can be amazing and encouraging to the new fighters.

There’s also those post treatment that are still trying to gain their footing in life after the battle. Living with the fears of it coming back and adjusting to the fact that their life isn’t what it used to be and will NEVER be what is used to be (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Long term survivors should reach out and guide these individuals, as it’s (in my humble opinion) the most difficult part of the cancer treatment process because you feel like you’ve been just thrown out there on your own.

The long term survivor (which is a group that I’m always grateful to be a part of) comes to realize that life, though different, can be more vibrant and beautiful than it ever was before cancer. This person often feels that they have a responsibility to reach out and help those in the other stages of the battle. That is where I am.

I find no more joy than helping other survivors maneuver the race and sharing the “spark” that gives hope to others.

This is my perception and I hope that it helps and inspires…

Thank you for visiting and being a part of my world.

 

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”  ~Ivy Baker Priest

 

 

What the Heck?!?!

I’ve noticed in the years since I was diagnosed that this time of year (End of May and into June) there are a lot more people getting their dreaded diagnosis. Whether it is a first time or recurrence, I see a rush this time EVERY year. Can this be coincidence or am I just taking notice because this is about the time I was nailed? I don’t know, but this year it has been hitting unusually close to home and well… I’m taking it personally!

These are my friends and loved ones and loved ones of my friends! I feel like I’m going to war all over again! This time I’m wanting to get all up in cancer’s face and showing the vicious side that it gave me in my own battle!

We can’t fight the battles for others, but we can hold their hands, give them a hug and especially not walk away when it feels like the world and their body has turned on them.

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Take no one for granted and especially remember live for now!

Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day and remember those doing battle (whether on the battlefield or in a hospital room).

Hugs!

Dealing with Bad News

The past couple weeks have been tough for me to get my mind around… I lost a childhood friend to cancer and it was the anniversary of the death of another friend, from cancer. Even when you know that it’s coming and the person has suffered so long, it’s still hard when they pass. It wakes your concerns and reminds you of everyone you’ve lost.

What it has reminded me of is how some survivors have a spirit of fight and sparkle right to the end believing that they have a chance at winning the battle, even when doctors and odds say differently. It’s nothing short of amazing. It’s this spirit that creates survivors that beat the odds.

With this it equally amazes me how some give up instantly and decide to seal their own fate… I’ll never “get” this. Even though I was completely “psycho” during my time with cancer, I couldn’t give up, it’s not in me. Life is too important to give up the ship without one hell of a fight (sorry if this offends, but cancer isn’t for the faint at heart). It’s a war with sometimes, many battles and rarely is it ever easy, but it’s worth the fight.

I’ve come to know some amazing individuals that have taken bad news and beat the odds, living wonderfully with cancer or ending up in complete remission. I recommend, whatever your diagnosis, NEVER give up… Life is ALWAYS worth it.

Have a great week and fight on!

 

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown

 

When a Friend Recurs… Don’t JUST Eat Cookies

Living post cancer takes some getting used to and it takes a while to get to our new “normal” and even that becomes a strain when a friend’s cancer returns. It seems that the longer you live cancer free, the more you have to deal with friends that have their cancer recurring and unfortunately some will lose the battle. It’s a heartbreaking fact that we live with. For some of us, it’s when we start banging our heads against the wall and fear starts shooting through us. Something that logically we know can and will happen, but a fact we don’t want to face.

When my best friend’s cancer returned and sadly took her life, I was devastated because I felt that after several years that we HAD to be safe! This wasn’t supposed to happen and I was furious. Spent nearly a month just wanting to sleep and eat cookies, not wanting ANYTHING to do with the rest of the world. Living with the blind rage that I hadn’t felt since I was first diagnosed, it took nearly a year to move past it.

The bottom line is that these feelings are normal, we are human and life is delicate. When someone we care about has their cancer return it makes us question if ours will, also and it might, but we can’t allow it to paralyze us and keep us from living.

There are a few things you can do to ease the fears…

  • Don’t hide in bed (I know this first hand. I was a train wreck that just wanted to sleep and eat cookies and that did NOTHING to help). You need to get out with people and be active. Your friends will help give you the strength to move forward.
  • Understand that though the chance is always out there, your cancer won’t necessarily return because your friend’s did. It will make you aware that it can, but the future isn’t written in stone.
  • Take this time to remember that you need to take your health seriously. Being complacent isn’t going to be helpful. This is your reminder to how delicate life is.
  • Be there for your friend. You’ve been there and know what they are feeling. Give back and be grateful that you can.

These are only a few ways to move through the fear, but the best thing you can do is keep living and not hole up and hide. Being active, social, and finding someone to talk to is important. Life is a gift and if you’ve survived cancer, it’s a gift you cannot take for granted. Share sunshine and light up the world with hope.

Have a wonderful week and spread some sunshine and why not share a few cookies too… Cookies make EVERYONE happy, but you can’t live on them (though some of us try).

“Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”  ~Author Unknown

 

 

 

Chaotic Logic or Let’s Live?

Let me to clarify that this is only my opinion and clearly not everyone else’s, but I’m sure that cancer has the same affect on other survivors as well. Logically, we all know that our cancer can come back at any given time and for the first few years after NED (No Evidence of Disease) we walk on eggshells with every set of scans, but as the years go by we breathe easier.

By year five we’re getting pretty comfortable in our survivorship and with every year after that, even more comfy in it. Some of us actually start getting a bit complacent and a tad lazy in the promises that we made to ourselves when the bombshell was originally dropped.

Then one day, one of us are struck by it again… And the bottom falls out of our lives. Not only do they recur, but they lose the battle and in our mind (okay, my mind) that isn’t possible. How can this be??? We win, we don’t lose! Who can we call about this, because this is simply not acceptable? I want to know NOW! I want to talk to whoever is in charge because this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be!

Now, I’m not stupid (naïve, yes, but not stupid) and I know that my cancer can come back, but I choose not to live my life that way (I’ve got the whole denial thingy down to a science). The thing is that I forgot the promise I made to myself to LIVE. Once again, swept away by life and everything that “seems” important at the moment, instead of what really is important to living a full life.

Someone mentioned that now I know how they felt when they lost their best friend and I’d agree with that if it wasn’t for the other emotions in play here… Blind rage because we are survivors and we have ALREADY won this battle and sheer terror because we know that no matter how many times we tell ourselves that we’re good to go, it CAN come back.

Life is meant to be lived and DOING what matters is WHAT MATTERS. Tomorrow never comes and sitting on our thumbs waiting until tomorrow to make our dreams happen, doesn’t work. Now is all there is, there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will be there. Have I covered every possible cliché on the subject???

I lost my best friend a couple weeks ago and honestly NEVER saw it coming. Should have, but didn’t and now a dream was missed, but there was a promise made and THAT PROMISE will happen!

We need to stop allowing procrastination control our lives. It’s time to move full speed ahead… Anything is possible IF we keep moving forward. We can change the world if we remember to stop putting living on hold for life. Let’s live!

We can find a cure to this horrible disease and stop these losses, if we as survivors don’t stop living and don’t forget that WE ARE SURVIVORS!

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