Dec 09, 2004 - 10:25 am
I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on surviving and even thriving after cancer. As a 6 year survivor of stage 3 rectal cancer (diagnosed at the age of 36),I've had to face this disease and rebuild my confidence, my self-esteem and my spirit for life. The treatemnts, surgeries and side-effects can be so onerous that we can lose our inner-strength. Here are some things that helped me through:
1. Read Lance Armstrong's books. If he can bounce back from stage 4 testicular cancer and win the Tour De France every year, then the least I can do is keep running every day and entering a race or two each summer.
2. Excercise regularly: This does not mean you hae to run marathons or even join a gym...but you can walk, jog, ride a bike, swim, hike or...join a gym. Physical fitness helped me through thhose tough years when you keep wondering if you're going to live to see the next Christmas with our children. I would work out hard enough that I fell asleep at night, feeling good, regardless of my long-term concerns. Buy some good running shies, find a good place to walk (a mall in the winter), jog or hike, and go at it for 20-40 minutes. You WILL feel better, I promise.
3. Stay engaged in life. Coach, volunteer for a social service agency or a church...do naything that keeps your mind off yourself and assists others. Use whatever skills you have to enrich others. It will make the time pass and make your time on this earth more meaningful. We, as cancer survivors, should understand the depths of life...we should help whoever we can. I coach basketball and cross-country, teach religious education to 1st graders, and volunteer speaking to abused women about the criminal justice system (I am a prosecutor).
4. Enjoy life. Have wine with dinner. Have every dinner by candlelight. Cook a special meal on the weekends with your significant other. Go to plays, games and concerts. LIVE!