Life after Cancer .. trying to figure it all out

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hippiechicks
hippiechicks Member Posts: 509 Member

Having such a difficult time trying to figure all this out.

It seems so ironic that we fight so hard to save our lives, we get through surgeries, recovery, chemo, tests, radiation, toxic side affects from all the drugs we poor into our bodies ... only to emerge to find our entire reason for living is totally changed.  The people in it, the ones left that is ... seem different, not only from their interaction with us, but how we now look at them.  We now need to rebuild a total life .... trying to find where to begin or belong ... and hope to live for each day with something good coming from it.

This is very difficult.

It all seems to happen little by little, when the dust settles is when it becomes clear. Clear that it is all different.

Just a ranting ... wondering if anyone has any insight or experiences with this piece of the disease?

«1

Comments

  • Lorikat
    Lorikat Member Posts: 681 Member
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    Life after...

    Cancer....   4 years NED and I wonder what the life of a cancer survivor CAN be.  Trying to convince yourself that this is over.  New chapter.  New life.  New way of thinking.....      ??????  ........

    i hope someone has some answers.  Or suggestions....  Lorikat from Anal board..

  • marbleotis
    marbleotis Member Posts: 720 Member
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    Perspective

    I believe that I look at things with different eyes.  I know what is important now and how easily it can be lost. 

    You see how people truely are in your life and you make the appropriate adjustments. (In or out)

    You are different - you have been through an experience only a cancer survivor understands.

    Time for me now means something totally different.

    I love every minute I have and only focus on things that support me staying a cancer survivor (NED 3 years and 3.5 months).

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    Different? yes! Bad? No!

    I actually like myself allot better now than I've ever done in my whole life.  If I can survive this, then I see it as a positive experience. 

    I had a sad childhood, which left me with allot of negative feelings for myself. Of course, now that I'm old and gray, I see that I was the victim and I am proud of what I have overcome and the person I have become, but it was a long haul getting to this point, and I believe the Cancer experience was the icing on the cake.  

    I love life! I do not feel guilty any more, when I take time for myself, as long as I balance that out with service to others and my life with family. Its not that I'm 'all about me', but its nice that I am about me. Through the Cancer journey, I have found out who I am, and that I actually LIKE who I am. Quite a novel idea for me. 

    As for others. Allot of folks still look at me with sympathy, and thats fine. If I get a chance to tell them that they don't need to treat me like I'm dying, I will, if not, then I let it go.  

    I confess, I don't suffer fools gladly, but I am more forgiving (does that sound like an oxymoron?). Yesterday, at work, we had an excptionally rude patient. Instead of getting all self-righeous about it, I just let it flow over me. 

    I would never have wished for Cancer, but I feel I am a better person for having it. 

     

    Sue - Trubrit  

  • Easyflip
    Easyflip Member Posts: 588 Member
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    Trubrit said:

    Different? yes! Bad? No!

    I actually like myself allot better now than I've ever done in my whole life.  If I can survive this, then I see it as a positive experience. 

    I had a sad childhood, which left me with allot of negative feelings for myself. Of course, now that I'm old and gray, I see that I was the victim and I am proud of what I have overcome and the person I have become, but it was a long haul getting to this point, and I believe the Cancer experience was the icing on the cake.  

    I love life! I do not feel guilty any more, when I take time for myself, as long as I balance that out with service to others and my life with family. Its not that I'm 'all about me', but its nice that I am about me. Through the Cancer journey, I have found out who I am, and that I actually LIKE who I am. Quite a novel idea for me. 

    As for others. Allot of folks still look at me with sympathy, and thats fine. If I get a chance to tell them that they don't need to treat me like I'm dying, I will, if not, then I let it go.  

    I confess, I don't suffer fools gladly, but I am more forgiving (does that sound like an oxymoron?). Yesterday, at work, we had an excptionally rude patient. Instead of getting all self-righeous about it, I just let it flow over me. 

    I would never have wished for Cancer, but I feel I am a better person for having it. 

     

    Sue - Trubrit  

    I'm only

    6 months NED and I'm also in a very strange place. I am happy, living more gratefully and like Sue, little things don't bother me at all. However I still feel like the other shoe may drop at any time and little aches and pains get my mind wandering. I'm selling my business and with the time and money I'm going a little more bucket list in my life. For me that means strengthening all my bonds with loved ones and friends, painting, travel and whatever else strikes my fancy. It seems like I should be pretty happy with that but I'm a little apprehensive of my new life. I've never not worked and it scares me a little to have too much time on my hands. We've all been through hell physically and emotionally, a little spoiling sounds ok to me. I have and will add in some cancer awareness/find a cure work. Let's hope I don't go overboard with the spoiling lol

    Easyflip/Richard

  • ron50
    ron50 Member Posts: 1,723 Member
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    I have very much had to change my expectations

      After sixteen years of survival and part way to seventeen, I have had to totally re-evaluate my life. One problem is age. My mind is set at the age of cancer. I was 48 then but now I am sixty five. But am I?  Not really , cancer has aged me prematurely. I believe that cancer, the treatment of and the ongoing long term side effects have probably robbed me of ten years.  I feel 75 and I have the medical problems of a 75 year old. I should be able to do what a 65 year old can do but I am struggling to do what a 75 year old can do.  Many of my great joys and passions in life are no longer an option to me. In other words I have had to dramatically lower my expectations. The time warp that I am in has separated me from most of the friends and family that I knew. I live alone and rarely see anyone. I can no longer share teir activities including my much loved fishing. My family seem to understand fully that I am not a young active 65 and have almost given me zombie status as one of the living dead. All that I have now is work. I have been doing the same job for over 52 years. I am pretty well over it. The people that know me and my history say that I am doing really well. Well I am not.  I have worked out the answer to my problems and that is to realise that there is no answer. What is the meaning or life ,17 or what ever the the hitchikers guide to the galaxy decided it was. Ron.

  • Helen321
    Helen321 Member Posts: 1,459 Member
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    I'm two years out and sadly,

    I'm two years out and sadly, I don't get to enjoy life the way I used to.  When my friends complain about trivial things that still matter to them, I'm so far away from their complaints.  I know people who are dying.  I know what it is to not want to die and I know what it is to have kids and family members who were afraid for my life and I saw their sadness.  It's a mental process to remind yourself that these things, although they seem trivial, DO matter!  That's what we call day to day life and living.  So when my friends are complaining because they got stuck on a line for 15 minutes or how much they hate cleaning or cooking or having to go to PTA meetings, I support them even if it's not real emotion that I am offering them, they don't have to know that and then I remind myself that I'm here and I can do these things because I am and this is what life is all about.  Just being.  They have the right to be and their lives were not interrupted.  I used to be them.   And so the more I do it, the more normal it's becoming and the emotional attachement is returning and the less I think about cancer.  I go whole days where I don't think about cancer at all. I just wish there weren't so many commercials on TV or advertisements.  It's such big business that it's everywhere.  I went to therapy for awhile but it didn't really help me the way I hoped.  I'm just letting time take its course.  My cousin is 17 years out of cancer and she said that at some point, you just stop thinking about it.  It's always a part of you but you stop worrying that it's going to come and get you the more time that passes and you just get on with living. 

     

    I'm with Ron.  Recently someone who didn't know I had cancer stopped me and said you just don't smile the way you used to and you look "older".  I definitely gained a few years from all of this stress.  Before I would say I was a 30 year old in a 45 year old's body.  Now I'm a 65 year old in a 45 year old's body.  Mainly because my surgery was so extreme, I lost a muscle that was important support to most other parts of the body.  I find it hard to work out and sometimes just walk normally and it's just aged my body.  I'm still fighting back though.  I try to find exercises that work and push through the pain.  Mentally I'm 45 in a 45 year olds body, that immortal youth that I had just a few years ago is gone.  That's okay, I'm the new me and the new me isn't so bad.  She's just a little wiser and most of all, she's still alive=)

  • Momof2plusteentwins
    Momof2plusteentwins Member Posts: 509 Member
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    2 ways to look at it -

    Yes I'm happy to be alive 3 years out.  My life has definitely changed, I can't say for the better.  I was nice before cancer planning trips and the future, and not worrying about dying.  I have to say being Stage IV, I always think when....  I hope never, but my mind does not allow that.  Also, all the tests!  Every time I have a CT I think about the results and after that I think of the next CT.  It never ends.  And finally, the expense, the out of pocket expense at the beginning of the year, $2,500 for me, and the co pays, $50 every time I walk in the drs office.  Goodbye vacations!

  • hippiechicks
    hippiechicks Member Posts: 509 Member
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    Thank you all for helping me

    Thank you all for helping me to feel not so alone in this.  I find myself wanting to do all those things I never did and wanted, but find there is no one else out there in my world wanting to share that same life. 

    I want to make a difference with my remaining time .. although currently NED ... still testing and there are some questions unanswered. Either way, I will deal with that when word comes in. 

    I also find those trivial things so less important in life. Wishing I can spread the news to those in my life that I love and that they could understand, but they don't. 

    It is a full time job staying ahead of cancer and trying to keep in a healthy place physically and emotionally. 

    My children keep me grounded.  I try to teach them something every day about the importance of life and how to live more freely.  They are all young adults and older teen ... so often they don't listen and want to learn on their own.  I remember those days. 

    I also feel young in mind but older in body.  But I am ok with that for the most part and try to gain back as much physical strength as often as I can.  I see the world through different eyes as well.  Clearer vision for sure.  Reality of life and what it all means, also living from test to test is an emotional toll but still I look at that as my new job.

    I do wish there was more support out there for the survivors, there are so many of us and it just keeps growing with our new medical breakthroughs.

    I am much more appreciative of the medical profession for the most part. The angels that walk beside us to guide us through the merky waters so to speak.  I can also see the incredible weaknesses in areas. The gaps in communication. The frustrations that is causes.

    The loss of friends has been tough.  The potential loss of my marriage which has taken a huge hit. I hate that cancer takes and takes. But, I to feel it has given some gifts.  Not sure where they are leading me right now ... but gifts I will share when I get there. Figuring it all out is just so hard.

    Finding this board has been a wonderful tool, although often too sad.  Checking in on you guys and being part of something that we all understand. I have learned so much and for all of you I am greatful.

  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576 Member
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    Thank you all for helping me

    Thank you all for helping me to feel not so alone in this.  I find myself wanting to do all those things I never did and wanted, but find there is no one else out there in my world wanting to share that same life. 

    I want to make a difference with my remaining time .. although currently NED ... still testing and there are some questions unanswered. Either way, I will deal with that when word comes in. 

    I also find those trivial things so less important in life. Wishing I can spread the news to those in my life that I love and that they could understand, but they don't. 

    It is a full time job staying ahead of cancer and trying to keep in a healthy place physically and emotionally. 

    My children keep me grounded.  I try to teach them something every day about the importance of life and how to live more freely.  They are all young adults and older teen ... so often they don't listen and want to learn on their own.  I remember those days. 

    I also feel young in mind but older in body.  But I am ok with that for the most part and try to gain back as much physical strength as often as I can.  I see the world through different eyes as well.  Clearer vision for sure.  Reality of life and what it all means, also living from test to test is an emotional toll but still I look at that as my new job.

    I do wish there was more support out there for the survivors, there are so many of us and it just keeps growing with our new medical breakthroughs.

    I am much more appreciative of the medical profession for the most part. The angels that walk beside us to guide us through the merky waters so to speak.  I can also see the incredible weaknesses in areas. The gaps in communication. The frustrations that is causes.

    The loss of friends has been tough.  The potential loss of my marriage which has taken a huge hit. I hate that cancer takes and takes. But, I to feel it has given some gifts.  Not sure where they are leading me right now ... but gifts I will share when I get there. Figuring it all out is just so hard.

    Finding this board has been a wonderful tool, although often too sad.  Checking in on you guys and being part of something that we all understand. I have learned so much and for all of you I am greatful.

    wonderful

    What a wonderful thread HippieC.  I am 10 years in the battle and 5 years stage IV NED but I do not have any answers for you.  There is no doubt that cancer changes us enormously.....there is no going back to that naive....."it will never be me". I have just done my 6 month testing and although I worried less in terms of time that I was fussing.....the intensity was no less. For me it is as if all the pain, the horror the fear the sickness from surgery and chemo is just burned into my brain and when I am faced again with a potential reoccurence, it all comes flooding back unconsciously and unbidden. Anxiety rules....

    Like you I can live with the physical changes and I believe there are serious limitations placed upon us.  I started at 58 and now I am 68 and sometimes I cannot separate the cancer effects from just plain aging...

    I also think people tend to just forget our cancer as we move away from it.....my daughter and husband were deeply involed in care and they seem to  respect the effort it took to stay alive but some acquaintances just brush it off and have no interest in the  changes that cancer has caused. I feel profoundly grateful to the family and friends who were there during the fight. I am so so very sorry that your marriage has suffered.  I always wonder how people here have fought the good fight and had to deal with serious family troubles at the same time.

    so blah blah....told you I had no answers :) I wish you all the very very best and fear not.....you are NOt alone in trying to figure this one out....

    best love, mags

  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
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    A new book

    I was reading a review about this book.  The author is by profession a photographer, but is also a cancer survivor.

    It sounds like it might have some words of wisdom from others who have walked in our shoes.

     

    New Beginnings: The Triumphs of 120 Cancer Survivors by Bill Aron

     

    Marie who loves kitties

  • hippiechicks
    hippiechicks Member Posts: 509 Member
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    A new book

    I was reading a review about this book.  The author is by profession a photographer, but is also a cancer survivor.

    It sounds like it might have some words of wisdom from others who have walked in our shoes.

     

    New Beginnings: The Triumphs of 120 Cancer Survivors by Bill Aron

     

    Marie who loves kitties

    Thank you so much for that

    Thank you so much for that tip ... I think I will curl up to a good read soon! Wink

  • Phil64
    Phil64 Member Posts: 838 Member
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    What an awesome thread.I am

    What an awesome thread.

    I am 52 years old. I was diagnosed with stage I testicular cancer in November 2011. Omg. I was in SHOCK when I heard the "you have cancer" words from the doctor. Looking back at that I laugh. Stage I testicular cancer. Heck. I could have skipped the radiation treatments as surgery alone was an acceptable treatement for a localized testicular cancer.

    Fast forward through the 22 nausiating radiation treatments for the testicular cancer. 

    I was later diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in April 2012. Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of that diagnosis.

    I've been through hell (it seems). Seven surgeries, 22 radiation treatments, 33 chemotherapy treatments.  And so here I am today. NED since December 5, 2014 (date of my third liver resection). And I managed to work through all of this (of course with time off for surgeries and chemo days).

    And I know what you all mean.  I used to say that children age a person. I would meet someone the same age as me (no children) and they always seemed so much younger. I still think kids age a person. Did I mention that I had my first child when I was 20 years old. :-)

    But no doubt that cancer also prematurely ages me as well. The worry, the pain, the poisen, the cutting and healing, the uncertainty...  Yes, this MOST DEFINITELY adds up to years!

    And cancer steals from us as well. One of the saddest things I had to do was tell my golf partner (whom I played with for over 15 years) that I couldn't play on the league. And I cried when I realized I just couldn't play with my fourteen year old son like I used to. And work seems so much harder... My productivity is certainly not the same as it was a short few years ago...

    The other day a nurse thought my wife was my daughter. Yes. this was a HUGE compliment to my beutiful wife. But I am actually two years younger than her!

    OLDER for sure, but are we wiser too? I do think that cancer has made me a wiser than I was before. I am now much more in touch with my mortality than I ever was before. I seem to know that my days are numbered, that this life is temporary.  Whereas I didn't seem to have that frame before. And it seems like so many others operate under a false assumption that they will live on this earth forever?

    I don't know if I can describe it accurately, but I think that having accepted my mortality as it is has somehow helped me become wiser. I think I see things differently knowing that my time on this earth is ticking away. I prioritize my time more than I did before. I want to enjoy the moment longer. I want to resist the fuss and drama. And I want to do what I can do NOW. Contribute what I can NOW. Share my heart openly. Listen to others with sympathY and respect. Connect with family.

    And I want to know the meaning of life! I want to know what this world is about!  

    And that is why I thank you for this blog. For it challenges each of us to think about where we are in our battle with cancer. To look for learning and lessons and meaning. And it challenges us to come to grip with the reality of our existence on this earth. And it leads us to Loving our family, friends, children (hopefully). And it challenges us to FIGHT.

    Someone once said on this forum - "we fight because that is what we do!"

    I don't knw why I like this quote - but it seems to hold some hidden meaning for me. I definitely didn't figure it all out yet. But I watch the heavey-weight fighters on this forum. Thowring and taking the puches. And I hope I can continue to do the same. And I hope I WIN! Whatever winning might be. And I hope I learn more about you and me. And I hope I LOVE as much as I possibly can! Before I go onto another place. And I hope I learn the truth and way!

    God Bless!

    Love and Light to each of you and ALL OF YOU!

    I'll keep thinking and fighting and LOVING.

    And I hope you do too.

     

     

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    Phil64 said:

    What an awesome thread.I am

    What an awesome thread.

    I am 52 years old. I was diagnosed with stage I testicular cancer in November 2011. Omg. I was in SHOCK when I heard the "you have cancer" words from the doctor. Looking back at that I laugh. Stage I testicular cancer. Heck. I could have skipped the radiation treatments as surgery alone was an acceptable treatement for a localized testicular cancer.

    Fast forward through the 22 nausiating radiation treatments for the testicular cancer. 

    I was later diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in April 2012. Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of that diagnosis.

    I've been through hell (it seems). Seven surgeries, 22 radiation treatments, 33 chemotherapy treatments.  And so here I am today. NED since December 5, 2014 (date of my third liver resection). And I managed to work through all of this (of course with time off for surgeries and chemo days).

    And I know what you all mean.  I used to say that children age a person. I would meet someone the same age as me (no children) and they always seemed so much younger. I still think kids age a person. Did I mention that I had my first child when I was 20 years old. :-)

    But no doubt that cancer also prematurely ages me as well. The worry, the pain, the poisen, the cutting and healing, the uncertainty...  Yes, this MOST DEFINITELY adds up to years!

    And cancer steals from us as well. One of the saddest things I had to do was tell my golf partner (whom I played with for over 15 years) that I couldn't play on the league. And I cried when I realized I just couldn't play with my fourteen year old son like I used to. And work seems so much harder... My productivity is certainly not the same as it was a short few years ago...

    The other day a nurse thought my wife was my daughter. Yes. this was a HUGE compliment to my beutiful wife. But I am actually two years younger than her!

    OLDER for sure, but are we wiser too? I do think that cancer has made me a wiser than I was before. I am now much more in touch with my mortality than I ever was before. I seem to know that my days are numbered, that this life is temporary.  Whereas I didn't seem to have that frame before. And it seems like so many others operate under a false assumption that they will live on this earth forever?

    I don't know if I can describe it accurately, but I think that having accepted my mortality as it is has somehow helped me become wiser. I think I see things differently knowing that my time on this earth is ticking away. I prioritize my time more than I did before. I want to enjoy the moment longer. I want to resist the fuss and drama. And I want to do what I can do NOW. Contribute what I can NOW. Share my heart openly. Listen to others with sympathY and respect. Connect with family.

    And I want to know the meaning of life! I want to know what this world is about!  

    And that is why I thank you for this blog. For it challenges each of us to think about where we are in our battle with cancer. To look for learning and lessons and meaning. And it challenges us to come to grip with the reality of our existence on this earth. And it leads us to Loving our family, friends, children (hopefully). And it challenges us to FIGHT.

    Someone once said on this forum - "we fight because that is what we do!"

    I don't knw why I like this quote - but it seems to hold some hidden meaning for me. I definitely didn't figure it all out yet. But I watch the heavey-weight fighters on this forum. Thowring and taking the puches. And I hope I can continue to do the same. And I hope I WIN! Whatever winning might be. And I hope I learn more about you and me. And I hope I LOVE as much as I possibly can! Before I go onto another place. And I hope I learn the truth and way!

    God Bless!

    Love and Light to each of you and ALL OF YOU!

    I'll keep thinking and fighting and LOVING.

    And I hope you do too.

     

     

    Awesome post, Phil.

    It is good to see you here again. Good to know you are NED at this time. And your words are indeed filled with wisdom. 

    Thank you! 

    Sue - Trubrit

  • hippiechicks
    hippiechicks Member Posts: 509 Member
    Options
    Phil64 said:

    What an awesome thread.I am

    What an awesome thread.

    I am 52 years old. I was diagnosed with stage I testicular cancer in November 2011. Omg. I was in SHOCK when I heard the "you have cancer" words from the doctor. Looking back at that I laugh. Stage I testicular cancer. Heck. I could have skipped the radiation treatments as surgery alone was an acceptable treatement for a localized testicular cancer.

    Fast forward through the 22 nausiating radiation treatments for the testicular cancer. 

    I was later diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in April 2012. Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of that diagnosis.

    I've been through hell (it seems). Seven surgeries, 22 radiation treatments, 33 chemotherapy treatments.  And so here I am today. NED since December 5, 2014 (date of my third liver resection). And I managed to work through all of this (of course with time off for surgeries and chemo days).

    And I know what you all mean.  I used to say that children age a person. I would meet someone the same age as me (no children) and they always seemed so much younger. I still think kids age a person. Did I mention that I had my first child when I was 20 years old. :-)

    But no doubt that cancer also prematurely ages me as well. The worry, the pain, the poisen, the cutting and healing, the uncertainty...  Yes, this MOST DEFINITELY adds up to years!

    And cancer steals from us as well. One of the saddest things I had to do was tell my golf partner (whom I played with for over 15 years) that I couldn't play on the league. And I cried when I realized I just couldn't play with my fourteen year old son like I used to. And work seems so much harder... My productivity is certainly not the same as it was a short few years ago...

    The other day a nurse thought my wife was my daughter. Yes. this was a HUGE compliment to my beutiful wife. But I am actually two years younger than her!

    OLDER for sure, but are we wiser too? I do think that cancer has made me a wiser than I was before. I am now much more in touch with my mortality than I ever was before. I seem to know that my days are numbered, that this life is temporary.  Whereas I didn't seem to have that frame before. And it seems like so many others operate under a false assumption that they will live on this earth forever?

    I don't know if I can describe it accurately, but I think that having accepted my mortality as it is has somehow helped me become wiser. I think I see things differently knowing that my time on this earth is ticking away. I prioritize my time more than I did before. I want to enjoy the moment longer. I want to resist the fuss and drama. And I want to do what I can do NOW. Contribute what I can NOW. Share my heart openly. Listen to others with sympathY and respect. Connect with family.

    And I want to know the meaning of life! I want to know what this world is about!  

    And that is why I thank you for this blog. For it challenges each of us to think about where we are in our battle with cancer. To look for learning and lessons and meaning. And it challenges us to come to grip with the reality of our existence on this earth. And it leads us to Loving our family, friends, children (hopefully). And it challenges us to FIGHT.

    Someone once said on this forum - "we fight because that is what we do!"

    I don't knw why I like this quote - but it seems to hold some hidden meaning for me. I definitely didn't figure it all out yet. But I watch the heavey-weight fighters on this forum. Thowring and taking the puches. And I hope I can continue to do the same. And I hope I WIN! Whatever winning might be. And I hope I learn more about you and me. And I hope I LOVE as much as I possibly can! Before I go onto another place. And I hope I learn the truth and way!

    God Bless!

    Love and Light to each of you and ALL OF YOU!

    I'll keep thinking and fighting and LOVING.

    And I hope you do too.

     

     

    Very profound Phil64, this is

    Very profound Phil64, this is exactly what I mean ... the struggle is fitting that "new" way of thinking ... enlightenment so to speak with those around us we love so dearly that do not seem to understand.  That to me is the difficult part. 

    I don't want to put things off .. where others still are in the mindset of "we don't have to do everything NOW".  My next week can change with a scan, or a blood test, or something that may throw me back in the ring ... knowing I will come out just a bit more beat up 6 months to one year later!! 

    Fighting for years with so much really makes you realize how much you miss out on also.  I remember crying in the hospital because I missed the entire Autumn. The whole thing! I love Autumn and just wanted to go outside and smell the crisp air one time! Scuff my feet through the withered leaves.  I was so happy to walk to the mailbox one day .. it made my entire week actually! Felt like I was on cloud nine.  A simple thing I once begged the kids to do! How do you make someone understand that!?

    Live life to the fullest has taken on a whole new meaning!Undecided

  • sflgirl
    sflgirl Member Posts: 220 Member
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    Phil64 said:

    What an awesome thread.I am

    What an awesome thread.

    I am 52 years old. I was diagnosed with stage I testicular cancer in November 2011. Omg. I was in SHOCK when I heard the "you have cancer" words from the doctor. Looking back at that I laugh. Stage I testicular cancer. Heck. I could have skipped the radiation treatments as surgery alone was an acceptable treatement for a localized testicular cancer.

    Fast forward through the 22 nausiating radiation treatments for the testicular cancer. 

    I was later diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in April 2012. Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of that diagnosis.

    I've been through hell (it seems). Seven surgeries, 22 radiation treatments, 33 chemotherapy treatments.  And so here I am today. NED since December 5, 2014 (date of my third liver resection). And I managed to work through all of this (of course with time off for surgeries and chemo days).

    And I know what you all mean.  I used to say that children age a person. I would meet someone the same age as me (no children) and they always seemed so much younger. I still think kids age a person. Did I mention that I had my first child when I was 20 years old. :-)

    But no doubt that cancer also prematurely ages me as well. The worry, the pain, the poisen, the cutting and healing, the uncertainty...  Yes, this MOST DEFINITELY adds up to years!

    And cancer steals from us as well. One of the saddest things I had to do was tell my golf partner (whom I played with for over 15 years) that I couldn't play on the league. And I cried when I realized I just couldn't play with my fourteen year old son like I used to. And work seems so much harder... My productivity is certainly not the same as it was a short few years ago...

    The other day a nurse thought my wife was my daughter. Yes. this was a HUGE compliment to my beutiful wife. But I am actually two years younger than her!

    OLDER for sure, but are we wiser too? I do think that cancer has made me a wiser than I was before. I am now much more in touch with my mortality than I ever was before. I seem to know that my days are numbered, that this life is temporary.  Whereas I didn't seem to have that frame before. And it seems like so many others operate under a false assumption that they will live on this earth forever?

    I don't know if I can describe it accurately, but I think that having accepted my mortality as it is has somehow helped me become wiser. I think I see things differently knowing that my time on this earth is ticking away. I prioritize my time more than I did before. I want to enjoy the moment longer. I want to resist the fuss and drama. And I want to do what I can do NOW. Contribute what I can NOW. Share my heart openly. Listen to others with sympathY and respect. Connect with family.

    And I want to know the meaning of life! I want to know what this world is about!  

    And that is why I thank you for this blog. For it challenges each of us to think about where we are in our battle with cancer. To look for learning and lessons and meaning. And it challenges us to come to grip with the reality of our existence on this earth. And it leads us to Loving our family, friends, children (hopefully). And it challenges us to FIGHT.

    Someone once said on this forum - "we fight because that is what we do!"

    I don't knw why I like this quote - but it seems to hold some hidden meaning for me. I definitely didn't figure it all out yet. But I watch the heavey-weight fighters on this forum. Thowring and taking the puches. And I hope I can continue to do the same. And I hope I WIN! Whatever winning might be. And I hope I learn more about you and me. And I hope I LOVE as much as I possibly can! Before I go onto another place. And I hope I learn the truth and way!

    God Bless!

    Love and Light to each of you and ALL OF YOU!

    I'll keep thinking and fighting and LOVING.

    And I hope you do too.

     

     

    Amazing post everyone

    Thanks for your post.  The whole thread is sad and uplifting too.  The resilience of the human spirit is inspiring.  Everyone here brings so much.  With our many challenges, we still carry on.  I'm so glad to have found this board.  Thank you all.

    My best,

    Andrea

     

     

     

  • thingy45
    thingy45 Member Posts: 632 Member
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    sflgirl said:

    Amazing post everyone

    Thanks for your post.  The whole thread is sad and uplifting too.  The resilience of the human spirit is inspiring.  Everyone here brings so much.  With our many challenges, we still carry on.  I'm so glad to have found this board.  Thank you all.

    My best,

    Andrea

     

     

     

    Anniversary today

    it's my anniversary today , four years out, on this day April 25 in 2011 I had my emergency operation. I still live with the diagnosis every day. It is there, does not go away. I'm 69 years old , but often feel much older. Reading all your post actually makes me feel better, knowing I'm not imagining things. I thought I have to be tougher, but actually we all experience and think the same. 

    I smile on the outside, but often cry on the inside. Only people who have been there understand. Yes my values have changed a lot. I have cut out people and have embraced others. I do have much more patience. I also have become a little selfish. Saying NO more often to volunteering, etc. I do enjoy life much more and appreciate little things.

    some friends became more important others I have let go.

    i wish all of us peace and happiness and enjoyment in day to day living.

    hugs, Marjan

  • dorookie
    dorookie Member Posts: 1,731 Member
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    Great Post

    i often find myself walking through life like a robot, the few times I've tried to talk to family or friends about my feelings the first thing I hear is your so lucky, you survived, you beat cancer twice, and on the inside I want to just SCREAM Yeah I survived but for what, to have to live like this? To suffer everyday from what the treatments for this monster have done to my body and mind! But I dont I just end up  agreeing and changing the subject. I probably should be in some type of counseling LOL, I'm six years out, and yes the testing is farther apart not a day goes by I don't think of it, not a day goes by that I'm not angry at it, not a day goes by that I don't ask myself WHY, WHY ME, and WHY did I survive WHY. I've seen some wonderful people with small kids on our board pass away, my kids are all grown, yet I am here and they are not. A very nice man once said to me after a brief conversation about asking why, he just said stop asking yourself that question. For a few minutesI thought about what he said, it just seemed so simple to him and I know he had good intentions, I just wish he was right or that I could just stop asking that question. 

    i dont have have any answers that's for damn sure, I have a lot of questions, fears and anger. One said that it will get easier as more time passes, I pray that's true. 

    I know I sound like Debbie Downer and I'm sorry, I just feel so horrible.  Funny thing is I bet you can't find one person I know that truly knows how I feel or what I'm going through. That's even more depressing, or maybe I should go into acting LOL I bet I would win an Oscar. 

    I feel guilty for feeling this way, when so many are struggling or far worse off than I am. There really should be some study on long term survivorship, living isn't always the easiest path.

     

    sorry for being down, but thanks for letting me talk.

    HUGS 

    Beth

  • hippiechicks
    hippiechicks Member Posts: 509 Member
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    dorookie said:

    Great Post

    i often find myself walking through life like a robot, the few times I've tried to talk to family or friends about my feelings the first thing I hear is your so lucky, you survived, you beat cancer twice, and on the inside I want to just SCREAM Yeah I survived but for what, to have to live like this? To suffer everyday from what the treatments for this monster have done to my body and mind! But I dont I just end up  agreeing and changing the subject. I probably should be in some type of counseling LOL, I'm six years out, and yes the testing is farther apart not a day goes by I don't think of it, not a day goes by that I'm not angry at it, not a day goes by that I don't ask myself WHY, WHY ME, and WHY did I survive WHY. I've seen some wonderful people with small kids on our board pass away, my kids are all grown, yet I am here and they are not. A very nice man once said to me after a brief conversation about asking why, he just said stop asking yourself that question. For a few minutesI thought about what he said, it just seemed so simple to him and I know he had good intentions, I just wish he was right or that I could just stop asking that question. 

    i dont have have any answers that's for damn sure, I have a lot of questions, fears and anger. One said that it will get easier as more time passes, I pray that's true. 

    I know I sound like Debbie Downer and I'm sorry, I just feel so horrible.  Funny thing is I bet you can't find one person I know that truly knows how I feel or what I'm going through. That's even more depressing, or maybe I should go into acting LOL I bet I would win an Oscar. 

    I feel guilty for feeling this way, when so many are struggling or far worse off than I am. There really should be some study on long term survivorship, living isn't always the easiest path.

     

    sorry for being down, but thanks for letting me talk.

    HUGS 

    Beth

    Oh Beth ... this makes me

    Oh Beth ... this makes me sad.  I know how you feel about the robot walking thing .. I feel that way sometimes also, but, I definitely know that my life has been spared for a reason.  I know for sure I am here to accomplish something, even if that something is not recognizable to me.  Maybe it is for my kids, my husband, my mom, friends or maybe I am here to teach someone something ... I am not sure, but there is always a purpose.  I get through each day with that in mind.  I do try to be useful to the cause. 

    But, the understanding from others, well .. that is just not there.  Only a few that have walked the path.  Trying to integrate before and after cancer into the same life .. that is the difficult part for me.  I have let "friends" go, and others have left on their own also.  I have definitely changed my thought patterns. I want to think for the better.  But, the reality of just how much things have changed and how many things have now been added to my life both good and bad, is rather dramatic to just continue on as it was before. Simply not possible. 

    Even the strength that we all have now changes a person.  And having to keep that strength strong knowing we may be fighting hard again tomorrow even when we are in NED.  Finding the deepest strength possible when faced with the tx and tests. It all changes us as human beings.

    The knowledge that I now have haunts me daily.  The "what if it is back" well .. that is every test or scan.  The "I feel good right now so lets get it done" attitude is there for me.  I have never been a procrastinator, so I am even worse now!! LOL

    Feel free to PM me Beth if you need to vent and don't want to post .... we will get through this .. for that I am sure.

    "If you are going through hell, keep going ...." Winston Churchill

     

  • John212
    John212 Member Posts: 116 Member
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    How to say something new?

    Thank you all, for sharing how the world looks to you right now.

    I used to joke about being 60 years old and not quite sure what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now, four years later and after giving up a year of my life to cancer, I'm ready to do that growing up. Cancer changes us in so many ways, both obvious and not. A common theme seems to be that we just aren't the same people we were before our diagnoses. I definitely feel this way, yet my friends still answer my emails, my wife still kisses me, and my children still won't laugh at my jokes.

    Change happened and I didn't have anything to say about it. The self-help culture would have you believe that if you want to change, you have to decide to change, but cancer will make that decision for you. Over time I came to understand something about my cancer journey: my body tried to kill me but then my spirit tried to fill me. At first, I hungered for knowledge. I read about my disease and I read about my treatment. My body had tried to kill me, but my spirit tried to fill me with truth. I struggled with all the "why me?" questions and rebelled at the changes that surgery and chemo demanded of my life. Sllowly, though, I began to give in. My body had tried to kill me but my spirit tried to fill me with acceptance. When all the treatments were finished and I ganed a little weight back, I started getting out more and was spending more time with friends. They treated me like I was the prodigal son returned and I felt great waves of gratitude. My body had tried to kill me but my spirit tried to fill me with love.

    It was only after I'd become aware of all the love in my life that I was ready to join in here. More love, more knowledge, and more acceptance came into my life here. It's been quite a trip.

    From here? I'm starting to look into possibly doing some part-time work for a cancer-support non-profit group. I know next to nothing about how these groups are organized or even what they do, so I'm beginning by reaching out to talk with people who do know about them. And if that includes anyone ehre on the board, I'd love to chat off line.

  • RickMurtagh
    RickMurtagh Member Posts: 587 Member
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    yeah

    People who know me well, my real friends, don't say things like, "You look good."  Well of course I do!  I guess I understand where they are coming from. But that makes me cringe every time I hear it.  It seems to me that some people can't breach the cancer chasm.  Some don't know how.  They don't know what to say, ask or assume. Others don't want to.  They fear cancer and even talking about it bothers them. And still others don't care. They either don't understand what having cancer means or going through treatment might be like or they truly just don't care.

    It think any new friends I have are ones that will readily talk about cancer with the conversations not always started by me.  Two cancer dx and four years with an ostomy and no topic is off the table if they are game.  I think being able to freely talk about cancer has made other topics more approachable.  I have one friend (female) with thining hair.  Maybe not as frightening as cancer, but scary none the less.  Marital problems, finances, physical ailments are all on the table for discussion. I needed to talk about my cancer experience (and still do) to deal with it.  I think cancer has taught me that just talking about things can be very thereaputic and my friends and family have noticed it too.

    When I hear "keep it real" when talking about exercise or even in music, it seems like it does not exactly fit. Too forced. When discussing anything with friends, it seems like a perfect fit and how it should have been all along.  I like that friends and family expect and give something more when asked, "How are you?"