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How I Killed Time While Killing Cancer

I was diagnosed with cancer, quit my job, put college on hold, started chemo, didn't get a role in "Saving Private Ryan" and started digging in the dirt.
PUBLISHED September 22, 2017
Ryan Hamner is a four-time survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, a musician and a writer. In 2011, he wrote and recorded, "Where Hope Lives" for the American Cancer Society and the song for survivors, "Survivors Survive" used in 2015 for #WorldCancerDay. Currently, he operates his website for those affected by cancer, and drinks a ridiculous amount of coffee per day.
When people are diagnosed with cancer, life changes dramatically, needless to say. Many have to deal with things like loss of income, a heap of medical bills, lower energy levels and are forced to cut back on a once active social life. This leaves many depressed.

When I was last diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in 1998, I had a great job, was in college and had plenty of friends and family to spend my time with. But treatment for cancer changed all of that. I had to quit my job, temporarily put college on hold, stop going to the gym and was unable to hang out with friends as often as before. I also had to give up my role in the movie, "Saving Private Ryan"—no not really. I just totally made that up.

Anyway, I became depressed. I felt totally isolated, bored and like I had nothing to look forward to. It was then that I decided to look for other outlets to keep me occupied, sane and with a sense of fulfillment on a daily basis—very similar to the topic of "small wins” that I talk about in one of my other articles.

Working out has always been something very important to me, but with cancer treatment, going to the gym was not an option. I refused to totally quit working out, though. So, I simply modified my workout. I bought some dumbbells that were very light. You know like the five-pound weights you buy at Walmart that are coated in rubber? Yes, I greatly scaled back the intensity of my “workout,” but it felt really good to be active in some capacity.

I didn’t just stop with the workout though. I needed a few more hobbies to occupy my time. I ended up doing things I never thought I’d do. I started collecting coins, which led to me buying a metal detector. Wow, I just admitted that to the world—and finally, I became an eBay seller. I never expected this hobby to take off like it did, but I eventually became an eBay Powerseller. 

With the combination of all of these hobbies, I now had more reason to get up everyday, other than for just going to the clinic. I had something to look forward to. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about digging in the dirt for hours to find a few pennies?

Here’s the deal, whether you dig in the dirt or not, you may have to alter your life with cancer, but you can still have a life with cancer.
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