Sometimes patients with cancer need to adjust their thinking to change how they view their disease
Janet Freeman-Daily is a writer, speaker, science geek and epatient with metastatic lung cancer. She uses her systems engineering background to translate the experience and science of lung cancer treatment and research into language other patients can understand. She comoderates the Lung Cancer Social Media (#LSCM) Chat on Twitter and blogs at www.grayconnections.wordpress.com.
In 2013, the website Moments A Day posted a lovely list
to help moms remember why they’re grateful for the irritations in their life. It’s a great example of recognizing that how we choose to think about events can make a difference in how we view life.
Patients with cancer occasionally need similar reminders. Some days we may have difficulty seeing the upside of anything, especially when in active treatment, experiencing unpleasant side effects or facing cancer progression. On such days, we need to be creative and write a list unique to our own values. For instance, here are some things on my list:
Daily trips to cancer clinic = outdoor scenery to appreciate
Stuck on the sofa achy and exhausted = pet snuggles and science fiction movies
Sleeping 12 hours daily = justification to ignore housework
Unsteady gait = early boarding at airport
Chemobrain symptoms = entertaining new word combinations
Friends talking about activities I used to do = motivation to walk or exercise more
One more clinical trial = time to help my autistic son refine his independent living skills
What things are important to you? What can you still enjoy when you can’t do what you used to do?
If you can no longer can think of things to write on the right side of the equals sign, maybe it's time to talk seriously with family and health care professionals about depression, quality of life and what’s most important to you. Only you
can decide what makes life worth living. Once you decide, tell your doctors as well as those you love. Let them help you achieve your goals.