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WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING?

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 825
Joined: Jun 2013

Hi Everyone,

My name is Laz, I am a 48 year old man with a pretty bad rectal cancer. I just started my treatment with chemo and radiation, will have surgery in September ending with a permanent colostomy.

Mentally my days are like a roller coaster: sometimes I feel strong and optimistic, because I still have so much to offer to my patients, friends and my family (I am a very good and compassionate dentist), I have a 15 year old daughter and a beautiful, supportive wife. Other days I lose this optimism and start doubting the reason to fight and stay alive no matter what.

The reason I'm starting this topic is to ask all all of you about what keeps you motivated, what keeps you going? I believe it would be very insprational to share and give strenght to each other.

Who are the people (friends, family, doctors, nurses), what are the tasks (job, hobbies, excercise, charities), the things (foods, drinks, nature) and the inner and outer spiritual support (house of worship, God, spiritualism, meditation) that help to keep you going?

What kind of people and what are the things (pain, bad news) that break your spirit and drive the most and how do you wish to be treated better? How do you turn these negative things around to keep going?

 

I am sure we all ask ourselves these questions a lot so it would be great to write down answers for ourselves and for each other.

Thank You an God bless you,

Laz

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Laz, I went through treatment for anal cancer and 10 weeks after finishing treatment for that cancer, I had major surgery for a second cancer. As a divorced mother who raised my child alone, I did not have the support system that you do. I was first diagnosed at 4 pm the night before Thanksgiving. My daughter was a junior in college and was to arrive by train home for the holiday 2 hrs. later. I made a decison in those 2 hours that I was a mother first and I was going to do whatever it took to be strong for my daughter, to show her how to deal with adversity with dignity and grace, and most of all, to see her graduate from college. While sitting in the coffee shop waiting for her, I decided not to tell her anything until she came home for
Christmas. She needed to go back to school, take exams, and live her life.

I also decided that cancer was the enemy and that I was going to fight it. I had to be tough, no time for tears. You just can't get through something like this unless you are determined to do so. When you don't have someone helping you through life, you learn to survive. Never will I wave the white flag of surrender. I actually chose a battle song of the day! I would email a youtube of my chosen song to family and friends to help them get through it too! The list included everything from "Hit me with your best shot", Rocky Theme,

All that being said, my Christian faith is what gets me through every day of my life, including cancer. Prayer is a part of everything that I do. I did not use pain meds, tranquilizers, or any other crutch. Prayer made that possible.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I know for some, cancer gives them a new sense of purpose. My life was already filled with purpose and quite full. I didn't live to fight cancer, I fought cancer to live. And I always ignore and avoid toxic people! :)

Angela_K
Posts: 370
Joined: Jan 2011

There wasn't enough prayer in the Western hemisphere to eliminate the need for pain meds for my glowing behind. :)  And I, along with thousands of cancer survivors, would never, ever consider them a 'crutch.'

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 734
Joined: May 2011

Good job, Angela. You made me laugh. Well said!

Fondly,

Sandy

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

?

Lorikat's picture
Lorikat
Posts: 551
Joined: Jul 2011

I used pain meds when pooping razor blades....  Anti nausea meds regularly and anti anxiety meds when I was so afraid and nervous I couldn't rest.  I also prayed and my family and friends prayed for me.....   

i am very happy that some people are able to tuff it out but I couldnt have done that.  And did not want to.  I am 19 months post tx and take NO meds now..  

everyone is different in how they handle things...  what kept me going?  I really don't know..  My family of course, my 32 year old daughter saying she still needed a Mom?  My husband not ready to call it quits?  My Grandkids? I don't know.

what I DO know is that I now TREASURE every good day..  I'm doing things I always put off til later.  I've taught my youngest grandson to ride his bike, took the older grandkids white water rafting.  I my not know what KEPT me going but I'm awfully glad I DID keep going.....

 

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 514
Joined: Apr 2009

you have all the reasons to keep on trying.... wife, daughter, career.....your Faith will carry you and your family through this.....  i was so surprised by my dx that at first i said no to tx.... i have no children but had just been married for 4 years so my hubby said to try it.... i did not have any idea how hard it would be because it was in 2009  on the same week that Farrah Fawcett announced her anal cancer and i had no one to ask about this ....soooo i just went to MD Anderson because they had seen more of these.... i prayed and screamed out loud to God every day ( almost)..... i had some hard times with friends who did not really know how bad off i was and had some great surprises from acquaintances who sent cards .....any way..... the greatest thing to know is that that this is curable.... harsh side effects but curable... i have a sweet friend who did have the colostomy after recurrance and she is doing so well.... still getting used to everything and yes, would rather not have it but she is going and doing and just a wonderful person to be around....you already have family so you will not have to deal with new person in your life.... God is everywhere and your faith is the key.....I made it and still am because of all the prayers said for me....   take care.....  sephie

Angela_K
Posts: 370
Joined: Jan 2011

Please know that inconsistent emotions are sooo a part of the journey. Eventually I learned to stop fighting them or worrying about them, and learned just to 'be.' 

When I was first diagnosed with Stage III anal cancer, I got down on my knees and talked to God. Actually, I screamed in anguish at Him initially.  Once I had worked through those earliest emotions, I told Him to use me as He saw fit in order to help other people with this disease and other challenges, and walk with those who needed my strength.  And use me He's done.  Facing adversity fuels the determination within me. Dealing with insensitive healthcare people makes me more committed to speaking up, changing the system and advocating for better patient relations. I allowed my three boys in on this life experience from the beginning, not to burden them, but to allow the experience of life, greater love and greater sense of family. And, of course, they kept me moving forward.

For me, giving back totally selflessly has made me whole. Being in the midst of others who are facing much bigger challenges puts things in perspective. Cancer hasn't been my enemy, it's shone a light on my greater purpose.

Blessings,

Angela

 

 

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 734
Joined: May 2011

You really nailed it this time, Angela. Thanks. I don't have anything to add to these comments of yours.

This week I am going to the Cathedral of St John the Divine with my Rector to pray and seek spiritual counseling for me as to what is next. I had to take such a break from "life" or what I thought was my life to go through this and get to where I am which is feeling really quite good now.

I want to make thoughtful, prayerful determinations about what is the next right thing for "my" life.

In response to "what keeps you going," I guess I surrendered to the disease and my very qualified care takers who never seemed to mis-step (I was treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC and Sleepy Hollow, NY). I let others pray for me to get well and I prayed for God's will to be done. I decided to let others do the fighting. I took my meds, rested and used Tai Chi and Chi Gong videos ever day as well as walked the dogs unless, of course, it was a really bad day.

I took pain meds as I needed them, worrying the whole time about possible addiction. That was not the case. They say it's all about intention. I associate the pain meds with being ill and I want health. I never took one unless it was really needed, nor would I. When you take pain meds, also take stool softeners. This is important.

This tough, scary, painful time is passing. Whatever it is, it will come to pass. It will not stay. You will move through this. Good luck and thanks for sharing, both of you.

Fondly,

Sandy

Bill158
Posts: 18
Joined: Apr 2013

Laz,

I noticed in the 2nd week I couldn't keep off the couch, to lay down and take a nap, so I remember asking myself, am I fatigued, or depressed, and I couldn't tell what it was so I made myself get up, and start doing my usual things around the house, planted my garden, went to a few new restaurants that my girlfriend and I hadn't been to before.  I am a physician, so I know what you mean about taking care of your patients, but it was hard to do at times, knowing I was hurting from the radiation burns, and nauseated with mouth sores from the chemotherapy and feeling probably worse than my patients were.  I have four kids, and two of them still in high school, so I remember wanting to act normal around them so they wouldn't worry about me.  I prayed a lot, and my family did also, and I was on the prayer list at my church.  I read as many posts from this forum as I could, and that helped immensely. 

 

7243
Posts: 211
Joined: Feb 2011

Prayer, positive guided imagery, meditation (took an 8 week course which changed my life), scheduled rest, healthy food ... Moderate exercise.....and time in the outdoors.  

I had to be around people who were real. 

allow yourself to fall apart if need be ... You will bring yourself back together in a new and powerful, healthier way.  Hope.  It is the first building block to your new way of being.

sending love and Peace ...

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