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What cancer patients, their families, and caregivers need to know about COVID-19.

Coping question

Butt's picture
Butt
Posts: 354
Joined: May 2018

How do you deal with the fact while have been fighting this demon for a while, that you may have another year or two left and have to leave behind people whom you truly live and they do need you?

AnneO1965's picture
AnneO1965
Posts: 140
Joined: May 2019

Wow... What a question...

 

I haven't really thought about it, and now I will...  I do know that I'm pretty sure cancer will eventually kill me, but I haven't thought about it being sooner rather than later.

 

I guess I would say to love them as much as you can while you are here and make sure they know how important they are to you. And to get your stuff scraped into the tightest pile you can make so that when you are gone, you aren't leaving behind a mess. As for dealing with it yourself, I think that if I know I've loved my people as hard as I can, I'll be ok with it. In the past 5 years, I was the caregiver for both my mom and my husband dying so I think I have a different view on the whole end of life thing. In both my mother's and my husband's cases, it was a blessing when they finally let go. Neither one of them had "quality of life" anymore. 

 

Food for thought though, so thank you for bringing this up.

Anne

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1171
Joined: Feb 2015

Anne's post is great.  I  do need to focus a bit more on the items Anne mentioned in terms of preperation - I am sort of at the point where focusing on that means to me that I am acknowledging cancer and my future a bit too much.  I figure if there is a time I start going south, I can take care of it.  Though of course I should be doing those things regardless of cancer. 

Some of my things on dealing for me  - obviously we all will think about it.    I know what is going on inside and what my odds are.  And there are times where it is absolutely crushing - when I think the chances are I will not be around to see my niece graduate high school and that even seeing my nephew enter high school is a real long shot.  Or hanging out and doing things with my wife and laughing and joking around, when all of a sudden thinking I won't be here to laugh or joke with her.  Or looking out the window and seeing the leaves changing and then wondering if it is the last time I will see this happen (I love the fall.)  It is overwhelming without a doubt.  And if I dwelled on those aspects too often, it would crush me.  Even typing this response, though I am not having the full feeling of what I am describing, does cause a knot in my stomach a bit.  

But I do my best to focus on the here and now and enjoy things as much as I can.  I am trying to make sure that if there is something my family and friends want to do, just do it and not postpone it for the myriad of excuses that we all can come up with.  Nothing like "Hey, I am dying you go to do this" but "Not a big deal if we are a bit  irrepsonsible or [dismiss whatever is in the way excuse.]   Spoil yourself, friends and family a bit.  Nothing crazy or irrepsonsible.  But things that just make life a tad more interesting.  For instance, when I travel I am not concerned if a nice hotel is a bit more than a cheaper hotel or AirBNB.  A bit more on a nice night out.  Go to an afternoon movie.  Little bits and pieces.  

For instance - today I found a running coach to try to help me improve  for my next races and went to a yoga class to see if I can a bit more flexible to help with things.  Could I maybe watch a video or read a book for the running and yoga?  Sure.  But there is something (for me) about having a live class or coach that makes me feel better as of now.  Then I  did some minor errands and grabbed a late lunch out instead of making a sandwhich or something at home.  Just an omellete and coffee, nothing crazy, but sitting in a diner just felt good.  A few hours into the day I actually thought  "Guess what cancer, I know you are here, but I am not stopping, so you are not bothering me today.  Nice try."  I do that more often than thinking about the bad parts of this all.  This whole cancer thing has made me more positive in many ways.  Go figure.  

 

SoCal42
Posts: 78
Joined: Jul 2017

I've known a couple of people, about my same age (mid 50's), who passed away unexpectedly during the past year. It just made me realize that nobody REALLY knows how long they will be around, and nobody gets to be around forever. We just happen to have our mortality waved around in our face constantly, so we think about it a lot compared to other people. The benefit is that we probably make a lot more intentional choices about how we're using our time, instead of just continuing to run on the hamster wheel month after month.

One of the weirdest things I've done lately is to go through the process of working with a financial planner, to figure out what to do with disability insurance, pension, etc. It was bizarre, because in order to create a plan, he really needed a life expectancy, and with what may be chronic, metastatic cancer, I felt like saying, "Um, somewhere between age 57 and 80 maybe?"

With the thought of leaving people behind, I defintely feel better now that I'm only a year away from sending my youngest off to college, and can see that she can handle herself. When I was diagnosed three years ago, that was much harder.

StillDancing
Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2019

I read your post a few times & it's amazing on how I feel. I just sent my youngest to college. 

Capox Dude's picture
Capox Dude
Posts: 65
Joined: May 2019

I have a new love of and appreciation of life as I wait out the years ahead.   I truly enjoy a latte more, lunch with my son, a cool fall day.   If I died in a car wreck I never would have had that awakening.  A patient at the infuse center told me "Science has finally figured out the root cause of death.....birth! Da-dum-pum!"   You know, birth does have a  100% mortality rate.   So let's make the most of it while here, and give as much love as possible.   One, we really have no other choice.   And two, that will make others and ourselves get the most of our time here, be it two weeks or twenty years more.

SoCal42
Posts: 78
Joined: Jul 2017

Wow, this is so true! I have to say, I now enjoy fig season like I've never enjoyed fig season before in my life, which probably sounds kind of trivial. But fig season is very short and only once a year, so it's great to stop and just enjoy. Plus because I don't feel so hot when I'm on chemotherapy, I've learned to adjust my expectations for accomplishing everyday things. Although I'll admit I'd really like to be able to clean my garage...

StillDancing
Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2019

I can relate! I need to get my hiuse in order!

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1035
Joined: Aug 2013

There are many disciplines for reigning in emotion and fear, changing perspective, or living for today. I kind of worked my way back from modern psych. methods to the ancient philosphies, finding myself drawn to both Stoic and Epicurean views and practices. After all this time, I'm still not much of a practitioner, since my submissions here can vary greatly in tone, based on whether I had a second cup of coffee or a second beer, lol. Truthfully learning to live in the moment, while still doing the necessary things, like planning, is the biggest protection I've had against the emotional pains this path, and facing mortality has brought. Being that I'm NED for years now [5], I'm not facing the same issues as you, but shaping your perspective around the truths of your existence still seems the strongest way to cope and still take joy and pleasure where you can, from life. I hope you find what works for each of you.......................................Dave

Butt's picture
Butt
Posts: 354
Joined: May 2018

I started to put affairs in order right after the diagnosis. It took about 2 months, the lawyer was a tad slow but I told him that at this point there were no rush.'I indeed a much better job of leaving at the moment. What came to me very strongly is that the further I get from chemo and I go there every 2 weeks the stronger I feel. You all know it and it is not the point. Because I am not that old and I believe it also will be common to people who are much older, to look forward to things. Things that truly matter for you, what your soul desires, who you are. Somethings are more short term and some are very long term. Everytime I have this desire I have to hit my self on the wrist and tell myself, sorry you can t do it because of physical limitations. I am the one who always wanted to move forward and accomplish more. Many people are stuck in a lousy job and a little rental apartment who spend their time drinking beer and watching TV. I am not blaming them but it is not me. When I feel better I have strong urges to move forward and improve my life in a few departments. I don t believe that you can believe in some positive outcome in life would it be health, relationship, money if you don't have a quite reasonable evidence that it will take place or at least you don't have information/ Facts that loudly scream that sorry it is extremely unlikely that the nice outcome will happen. Finally, you have to live or exist in reality. I did have a good shrink whom I saw years ago but it wasn t a health situation.  He did help But the true help occurred very rapidly when the nasty matter got resolved with the positive outcome. For sure made me a much happier person. I went to 2 shrinks months ago. That was a disaster. The first one was trying to convince me that I will be healed and need to believe in it and the same time telling me that my life never would be the same and I need to find a new identity but he has no clue how to help me. The second one was rude, obnoxious, arrogant. I had to stop this session in 30 min. The oncolgyst told me that there are no good shrink who know how to work with cancer patients any many of his patients complained to him about their shrink experiences. I am sure they exist but looks like nowhere close. But in reality I need a doc who will offer me a couple of good treatments options. I am dreaming of remission..........

 

cinda
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2019

even healthy people don't know how long they have, I've been sick 2 1/2 years and people with no problems they were aware of have passed. I try to be positive and live a month at a time .Every 1oth of the month I say I made it one more and I feel thankful.I am surprise I made it this long. This summer I planted a vegable garden and called it my garden of hope ,not knowing if I would be around to pick anything. I really enjoyed it so glad I did. I don't forsee a long future. I had worked in a nursing home and seen people still enjoying their last years .none of them had that long left but they didn't think about it. My best friend there was 94 when she came and lived to be 100 .We enjoyed each others company. If she can be positive with her last days so can I. I know your thinking these people had a long life so thats different. I don't know how old you are or what you would still like to do ,I only know what ever your age being positive is important. I wish you the best and hope you find someone to talk to that can help you feel better. 

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