Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where to Look Each Day

Day to day living after being diagnosed with cancer can be challenging. In between the doctor visits, tests, treatments, waiting for test results lies days to just live. Days that might require going to work, taking care of family issues, going to children's activities. Life after diagnosis has a new meaning and many might think that once faced with this would come open roads to do what brings great meaning, joy and not putting off for tomorrow.

The daily activities that were present before the day of diagnosis do not mysteriously go away and lead to the wide open world of carpe diem. Family members still have needs, children still need to be played with, read to and given bathes. It would be nice to sell the house and move to the Caribbean but life must go on. Yes, priorities might change and plans moved up, but when day to day life calls, where does one find inspiration?

I recently read a post from the blog, Zen Habits that lists 30 incredible places to turn when you need inspiration. In the post, Leo Babuta had asked readers on Twitter for ideas and he put many of his favorites on the site. The list is interesting and many do not require an electrical hook up or WIFI.

It can be challenging to find ways to bring inspiration into daily lives that often require routine tasks. I would love to hear from others what they find inspiring.
Today it was 20 minutes reading with a cup of tea before heading into work. Have to say the time taken was well worth it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Looking Forward

A while back I wrote a post about hope, and what hope can bring. I recently began reading a book by Jerome Gropeman, MD titled, The Anatomy of Hope. Early in the book he writes,

"Hope can arrive only when you recognize that there are real options and that you have genuine choices. Hope can flourish only when you believe that what you do can make a difference, that your actions can bring a future different from the present. To have hope, then, is to aquire a belief in your ability to have some control over your circumstances. You are no longer entirely at the mercy of forces outside yourself."

This passage sums up alot of what I have come to believe since being diagnosed in 2007. Hope, choices, keeping a sense of control and bringing a future different from the present. This road into a new way of life has many curves and detours but hope can provide direction that cannot end in a road block.

I recently met with my doctor to go over blood work since undergoing a round of Rituxan treatment. In his words, "if someone brought me these values, I couldn't diagnose you with Leukemia." These words instill a sense of hope, not that this disease will be gone forever, but that I had made a good choice to start this treatment. This choice came after seeking another medical opinion and the opinion of others who had undergone similar treatment. This choice came after hours of reading, searching, studying and taking control over things that I once had let go untouched. I had made the choice that I don't want to hand control over to others but be an active participant in my health care.

The loss of control is something that many people face when dealing with a serious disease such as cancer. As Dr. Groopman writes, to acquire a belief in your ability to have some control... The control may come in small or large ways, but there needs to be some level of control that we as patient's must have.

I look forward to days of feeling good, having energy and living life.