Web Exclusive: What Is a "Good Death?"
April 01, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Resolving Your Own Death
March 25, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Understanding Hospice
March 20, 2009 – The American Hospice Foundation
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
March 18, 2009
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
March 18, 2009
Web Exclusive: Eulogy for Dr. Phillip Berman
March 18, 2009
Web Exclusive: A Granddaughter's Eulogy
March 17, 2009 – Heather Venrick
Calming Cancer Pain
March 17, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Excerpt: When Hormone Therapy Can Stress You Out
March 17, 2009 – Ed Weinsberg
Treatment Snapshot
March 17, 2009
Choosing the Right Plan
March 13, 2009 – Christy Schmidt
Lymphoma, Myeloma & Prostate Cancer
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
When Do I Tell Her?
March 13, 2009 – Jasan Zimmerman
Web Exclusive: Caregiving Resources
March 13, 2009
What Can Patients Do to Reduce a Spouse's Stress?
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Web Exclusive: Childhood Survivors Face Increased Risks
March 13, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
Soy Story
March 13, 2009 – Lena Huang
Web Exclusive: An Amazing Journey with Remarkable Women
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
An Incredible Journey
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Identifying Insurance Challenges (and Solutions)
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Medicare Resources
March 13, 2009
New Legislation Focuses on Helping Patients
March 13, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
The Four Parts of Medicare
March 13, 2009
Should Breast Cancer Patients Make the Switch?
March 13, 2009 – Beverly A. Caley
Web Exclusive: Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
March 13, 2009 – The American Cancer Society
Web Exclusive: Cognitive Changes
March 13, 2009
Web Exclusive: Types of Thyroid Cancer
March 13, 2009 – The National Cancer Institute
My Extended Vacation
March 13, 2009 – Gary Grieger
Does Treatment Differ for Older Patients?
March 13, 2009 – Heather L. Van Epps, PhD
New Blood
March 13, 2009 – Susan Kreimer
For the Caregiver: Brain Nourishment
March 13, 2009 – Laura Beil
The Low-Iodine Diet
March 13, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
Conquer Prostate Cancer: How Medicine, Faith, Love and Sex Can Renew Your Life
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Childhood Cancer Survivors Skip Needed Mammograms
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Young Patients Make Their Mark in Art Exhibit
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
U.S. Surgeon General's Office Releases Updated Family Health History Program
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Kathy Bates Reveals Her Survivorship Status
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Q&A: KRAS Testing
March 13, 2009 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Supplements Offer No Prostate Cancer Protection
March 13, 2009 – Lena Huang
Crossing Gender Lines
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
CancerCare Telephone Education Workshop: Seventh Annual Cancer Survivorship Series
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Ad Campaign Targets Health Care Reform
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Message From the Editor
March 13, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Treatment Updates
February 18, 2009 – Susan R. Peck, PhD
The Ins and Outs of Ports
February 18, 2009 – Curtis Pesmen
Stressed Out
February 18, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Battling Cancer Again
February 18, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
Warrior Survivors
February 18, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Mind Games
February 18, 2009 – Laura Beil
Trying Something New
February 18, 2009 – Nicole LeBrasseur, PhD
The Good Cancer?
February 18, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
Letters from Our Readers
February 18, 2009
The Medicare Prognosis
February 18, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
The Final Journey: The Life and Death of Judy Abernathy
October 05, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: What Is a "Good Death?"
April 01, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Resolving Your Own Death
March 25, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Understanding Hospice
March 20, 2009 – The American Hospice Foundation
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
March 18, 2009
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
March 18, 2009
Web Exclusive: Eulogy for Dr. Phillip Berman
March 18, 2009
Web Exclusive: A Granddaughter's Eulogy
March 17, 2009 – Heather Venrick
Calming Cancer Pain
March 17, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Excerpt: When Hormone Therapy Can Stress You Out
March 17, 2009 – Ed Weinsberg
Treatment Snapshot
March 17, 2009
Choosing the Right Plan
March 13, 2009 – Christy Schmidt
Lymphoma, Myeloma & Prostate Cancer
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
When Do I Tell Her?
March 13, 2009 – Jasan Zimmerman
Web Exclusive: Caregiving Resources
March 13, 2009
What Can Patients Do to Reduce a Spouse's Stress?
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Web Exclusive: Childhood Survivors Face Increased Risks
March 13, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
Soy Story
March 13, 2009 – Lena Huang
Web Exclusive: An Amazing Journey with Remarkable Women
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
An Incredible Journey
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Identifying Insurance Challenges (and Solutions)
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Medicare Resources
March 13, 2009
New Legislation Focuses on Helping Patients
March 13, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
The Four Parts of Medicare
March 13, 2009
Should Breast Cancer Patients Make the Switch?
March 13, 2009 – Beverly A. Caley
Web Exclusive: Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
March 13, 2009 – The American Cancer Society
Web Exclusive: Cognitive Changes
March 13, 2009
Web Exclusive: Types of Thyroid Cancer
March 13, 2009 – The National Cancer Institute
Currently Viewing
My Extended Vacation
March 13, 2009 – Gary Grieger
New Blood
March 13, 2009 – Susan Kreimer
For the Caregiver: Brain Nourishment
March 13, 2009 – Laura Beil
The Low-Iodine Diet
March 13, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
Conquer Prostate Cancer: How Medicine, Faith, Love and Sex Can Renew Your Life
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Childhood Cancer Survivors Skip Needed Mammograms
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Young Patients Make Their Mark in Art Exhibit
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
U.S. Surgeon General's Office Releases Updated Family Health History Program
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Kathy Bates Reveals Her Survivorship Status
March 13, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Q&A: KRAS Testing
March 13, 2009 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Supplements Offer No Prostate Cancer Protection
March 13, 2009 – Lena Huang
Crossing Gender Lines
March 13, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
CancerCare Telephone Education Workshop: Seventh Annual Cancer Survivorship Series
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Ad Campaign Targets Health Care Reform
March 13, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Message From the Editor
March 13, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Treatment Updates
February 18, 2009 – Susan R. Peck, PhD
The Ins and Outs of Ports
February 18, 2009 – Curtis Pesmen
Stressed Out
February 18, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Battling Cancer Again
February 18, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
Warrior Survivors
February 18, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Mind Games
February 18, 2009 – Laura Beil
Trying Something New
February 18, 2009 – Nicole LeBrasseur, PhD
The Good Cancer?
February 18, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
Letters from Our Readers
February 18, 2009
The Medicare Prognosis
February 18, 2009 – Teresa McUsic
The Final Journey: The Life and Death of Judy Abernathy
October 05, 2009 – Kathy LaTour

My Extended Vacation

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "First Connection" program connects volunteers with newly diagnosed patients and caregivers to help them manage the many aspects of a cancer diagnosis.

 

BY Gary Grieger
PUBLISHED March 13, 2009

Did you know it’s possible to live every day like you’re on vacation? I know it’s possible because I’ve done it every day since October of 1999 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Since then, I have packed more enjoyment and passion into my life than I thought possible.

While I still might have other obligations to attend to, I choose to be more upbeat and appreciative when completing those tasks. Personally, I try to fit more positive things into my day, like reaching out to someone going through a difficult time, or going out of my way to ask someone how their family is doing.

I’m not saying that cancer has been easy. For me, the hardest part wasn’t the chemo treatments or the stem cell transplant. It wasn’t even the clinical trials, the biopsies, or the never-ending tests. The hardest part was waiting five days for results of the staging tests after my initial diagnosis. Those five days caused me to evaluate everything in my life, and what I was going to do with the time I had left.

Following my diagnosis, a family friend told me about The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. As I learned more about the services offered by the nonprofit, I found out about a program called First Connection. The program matches trained volunteers with recently diagnosed patients or caregivers to help them manage the many aspects of a cancer diagnosis.

This partnership offers hope to new members of the cancer club, and an opportunity to talk about any issues, concerns, or fears they might have. After being trained as a First Connection volunteer, I have connected with more than 80 individuals battling cancer.

The First Connection program is filled with joy and happiness, but also grief and sadness. Getting close to someone who is going through a very difficult time is not easy, but having commitments to my many First Connection contacts provides me with a purpose that drives my spirit and allows me to focus on others.

Today I feel good about the mark I have left in the world. While no one feels good about a cancer diagnosis, I know it does not have to be a death sentence. Every morning I plan my day focusing on how I can impact my life and the lives of others. Every night I review what I have accomplished. This works for me.

Learn more about The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's First Connection program at www.leukemia-lymphoma.org.

Continue the conversation on CURE’s forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In