Something to Look Forward to After Cancer Treatment

A survivor describes the small joys in life and how she avoids letting cancer get in the way.

As I sit at my computer today, I am smelling the aroma of a fresh summer peach pie coming from the oven. I am in the process of packing my suitcase, as I will finally be traveling almost 2,000 miles next week to see my two sons and their families – the first time I’m seeing them since the pandemic began. The flowers on my back porch are getting some needed attention today.

Why am I sharing this? Life goes on, even with a cancer diagnosis. I have been fighting since 2013 with three major surgeries, four rounds of chemo and two radiation treatments. I was fortunate to receive a great PET scan two weeks ago after this past radiation and chemo. How did I celebrate? I traveled to see family in Charleston. This past Saturday, I rode a 10-mile bike ride with my husband. Yesterday, I mowed the yard. Today, I baked a peach pie!

Life does go on despite what I am feeling. Sometimes I get very tired, so I rest. I walked a beach last week and because of my neuropathy, I did get blisters on my feet, so I put on some medicine and a Band-Aid with cushion and continued to walk. Every day I get stronger and stronger. I still have one more chemo this Friday but will continue my fight with tenacity. I will go a bit backwards but again; it is my last chemo so WOOHOO! I will be celebrating!

I have so many things to look forward to in my life. Some are events soon – even tomorrow – and then some things are in the next few months, even the holidays. The important thing is to have something to plan and look forward to!

When you are told you have a cancer diagnosis, there are so many questions that you want answered. Because of the nature of the disease, your first questions may be how bad this kind of cancer is (none are good), how much time do I have (do we ever really know), and what are the treatments (will I lose my hair). These were my questions. My suggestions to you are to seek the best doctors who can help you navigate your cancer journey. Be an advocate for yourself and do your own research. As for time, you cannot worry about the clock ticking. You will be wasting time! Treatments have the potential to be debilitating but you will get through it!

When I was going through my first chemo, one day I was mowing the lawn. I only had the strength to make one pass and back across the yard at a time. I would sit in the middle of the driveway and rest before I would do the next pass. On this day, I lay down in the driveway to rest and look up at the beautiful sky. Several cars drove by including one person who turned her car around in the next driveway and came back to check on me. She was a nurse and thought I was in trouble laying in the driveway. I thanked her immensely and told her I was going through chemo and was resting. Never did I lay in the driveway again. When I rested, I simply sat down and enjoyed the rest!

The point of this is take each day and make it a good one. Mow the yard if you can. Rest when you need rest. Walk a beach when you can or walk your neighborhood. Fiddle with your flowers to help make them happy. Try to do something healthy for yourself. Eat the fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob in the summer. Read that book you have been wanting to read. Bake the peach pie and enjoy the amazing smell of it cooking in the oven. Today is the time that you have! Celebrate the day. Carpe diem!

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