When Time Is Precious for Cancer Survivors, the Little Things Count


A cancer survivor talks about how she has learned to appreciate the little things in her daily life.

One of the things that irritates me the most about having chronic cancer is all the medical appointments that take so much precious time. When I complain, I feel guilty because so many people are much sicker, lying in bed at the hospital, and have more painful treatments than me. As I try not to complain, I recently realized why it might be so upsetting to me.

I was in the middle of a very strenuous week, not physically but appointment-wise. I had a blood draw, a visit to the hospital for a Retacrit (epoetin alfa-epbx) shot, and a CT scan. I also had an appointment at a special veterinarian an hour away for my aging dog. To top it all off was another appointment for my aging kitty. I joke that I did not plan this well having all three of us getting old at the same time!

Then I took another look at my calendar. The following week I only had one appointment the day before Thanksgiving. What a break! It would have been wonderful to have a week without any appointments, but this is not a time to be greedy. I only remember one or two weeks in the past three years I did not have at least one medical appointment. But along with this regimen that all of us with chronic conditions have to undergo is a new appreciation for the little things. Other people do not understand, but we cancer survivors do. We celebrate remissions, new treatments and good medical care all the time – the big things. But we also learn that a week with none or only one appointment is also a reason to celebrate! It IS the little things that count and we look for them every single day!

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