Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Does It Affect You?

How does being diagnosed with cancer affect you? Something I think everyone either has been asked by others or we ask ourselves when sitting quietly. Do you get down, inspired, angry, ready to "live no matter what happens"?

How do you react when someone else dies of cancer, famous actor, athlete, family member or someone you read about in the paper?

Where does your mind go when you get a sore throat, headache, stomach pain? Is it the cancer, another form of cancer, a side effect from treatment?

When you wake up each day and your first thought is "I have cancer", how does it affect you?

When someone you haven't seen in a while, asks quietly, "how are you feeling"? What about when they state, "you really look good". Are they asking in general or are they wanting to really know what is going on with you. And how should someone with cancer look?

Just some thoughts that tend to happen every week and wondered what others think of how cancer affects them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Living the Double Life

Ever since being diagnosed three years ago, the internal struggle to keep living life in the face of cancer has been wearing. Some days I just want to work and forget that I was ever diagnosed and some days I want to embrace the fact that I have cancer and grab the opportunity to live like there is no tomorrow. Some days I want to work on projects related to my career and some days want to write additions to the book that is slowly coming along. Some days I want to go to the doctor for the small things that won't go away and then I remember I have cancer and do I really want to go in the event the small things aren't that small?

Living life with chronic cancer can be daunting. Treatment has worked so far so "get out there and live." Go to work, play, take out the trash, feed the dogs...just get on with life. But wait, the cancer is lurking, will it show up soon, will it stay away for many years, will the small ache be something really large? Do you turn away from the big "C" and try to forget or do you pay respect to the monster, keep eating organic, keep daily prayer, and prepare for the worse?

We are all going to die, we just don't know when. Being diagnosed just helps to face the known a little sooner and possibly a little harsher in that we get a heads up. The double life that must be balanced is the life of either being a person living with cancer or a person disabled by the fact that cancer has struck. Will I face the monster heads on and keep living or try to avoid the facts and run from the monster to the life that was there prior to being diagnosed? Will I ignore the message that I was given to get on with a life that is worth living because there isn't a guarantee of tomorrow? Do I want to wait until I'm sick again to only then wish I was eating right, exercising regularly and tell myself I won't let this take me or do I pay respect and realize that every day, every moment, every breath is a gift to not take for granted?

My hope is that every day I awake to give life a chance, to breathe every moment I get a chance and to realize that there is no guarantee. To not wait until I get sick again to only then plan to prepare but I get going now. To pay cancer the respect it deserves but not forget that I am a person living this life and not a diseased body just waiting for my turn. I not only wish this for myself, but for all those affected by this illness, to the survivors who bring strength.