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Leslie221

How long do you have to survive to be a Survivor?

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Since my diagnosis, I sometimes forget that every sunrise I see entitles me to call myself a cancer Survivor. Some of us think we can only acknowledge anniversaries in terms of years. But seasons, months, weeks, and even days since diagnosis are important milestones. So are special events you hoped to enjoy and wondered if you would be able to- a new grandchild, the day your worst neighbor finally moved, the next novel by your favorite author, the first cucumber in this year's garden.

Please share your milestones on this board with the rest of us. Your joy or surprise at achieving something you couldn't count on will be contagious.

That's what makes this board different than "My Story." You don't have to tell your whole story if that seems to much; just tell what special goal you've reached and let the rest of us smile with you and send our WOOOHOOO's!

Also share your thoughts on reaching a milestone - things that motivated you, how others helped you, actions you took to fight your cancer. And remember, newcomers will probably look here for hope. Remember what it was like to be so terrified and so sure you'd never get to......Remind us all that we CAN get to... :wink:

We (the moderators) will try to keep track of everyone's annual anniversaries since diagnosis and share that news for those who are too shy or too busy enjoying life to remember! (Let's hope there are LOTS of those!) It'll take a little time to get our lists organized, so, in the meantime, don't wait for us - share it loud and clear!

"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell."

----Lance Armstrong

Leslie

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I answered this one many months ago. I have a friend who says, "If you didn't die on the spot when you heard you had cancer, you are a survivor!" I can support that stance. However, my wife did not feel like a survivor until she reached a point where she felt well enough and was relatively clear of the beast -- which was about 9 months after diagnosis (also the time of survival she was given). So at the point she felt she had beat the odds, she felt well and she was relatively clear, she said she was then a survivor, and she has felt that way ever since. So, I would say that being a survivor is in the eye of the beholder. Don

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Hi Leslie,

Like I said in a different post, thanks for volunteering to be one of the mediators of this new site.

I can see by your enthusiastic post that you will make a great mediator. You certainly have the charisma!!

Since you have joined here (sorry you had too) you have been a breath of fresh air. I love your WooooHooos!!! :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:

This forum is going to give so much needed hope to so many frightened souls.

Good Luck... and WooooHoooos to you!! :wink:

Maryanne

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Here is my stance on survivorship:

I had read what Don posted, that if you don't die on the spot with the diagnosis, from that point on, you are a survivor. I read it, but counted from the time I had surgery and that nasty little critter was yanked out along with some good tissue and left behind some really scary mental monsters to deal with.

I read about two-year statistics and five-year statistics and felt that reaching certain milestones would "allow me to live" again and reclaim my old life. I was wrong.

I beat the odds that were stacked against me and made it to the two-year point earlier this year. For TWO YEARS, I felt as though I was living on borrowed time, that I had lived through diagnosis and surgery but that I was merely spinning my wheels because it would probably come back...

I WASTED two freakin' years waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not the whole time, mind you, I took in weddings and grandbabies and sixth grade graduation and planted flowers that I fully expected to see bloom, but in the back of my mind, that monster was still growling and getting loose at times...

I am now two years, six months and five days from diagnosis. I've been through two winters and autumns, three springs, three summers. My husband and I have married off his two daughters, welcomed three grandbabies, attended a high school graduation, adopted a puppy and built a new house. We have also buried two friends, two grandparents, an uncle and a beloved dog.

Life HAS gone on, although the cancer was a pit stop for me, life continued to zoom on at a fast pace. I am now the mother of a teenage boy with many rough days to come, I'm sure. Instead of wondering if I'm going to be around for all the new milestones in his life, I'm going full steam with all plans that I WILL be here, there is no other option.

Oh, the monster? He wrestles out around test time and then I beat him back into the corner and duct tape him up to his eyeballs. We are not friends, the monster and I. He represents too much negativity and doubt and there is no room for him in my life.

Anyone newly on this journey should understand that the wake-up call is a reminder not to WAIT to live, but to get on with the business of living because NO ONE KNOWS the date written as the end of their days in the big Book of Life. Beware of beer trucks!

...and I really didn't "waste" that time, I battled a monster in my mind that assured me I wouldn't live two years - and the monster was wrong. I DID live, I did participate in life, but many of my perceptions changed. I'm not afraid of much anymore, and that certainly changes how I deal with difficult people that live by intimidation. I don't have a "career", I have a job. They pay me, I work. I don't want to travel and be away from my family, I just want insurance and a way to earn money. If I died tomorrow, my workplace would be looking for my replacement the next day - my family could never replace me. Guess where my heart is?

Time to live...

Becky

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Sahweeeet, Becky! Leave it to you to put a comprehensive understandable personal spin on it!

For me, surviving means that I am still ticking. There have been plenty of moments where it really felt precarious. I was feeling so poorly that at times, I didn't think that I would see the sunrise the next morning. And then I did! Every sunrise is a victory!

My "friends" planted a whole bushel of tulips in the month of my diagnosis. I felt that it was somewhat patronizing. I felt as if I may not see the Spring to see them bloom. I felt as if they didn't think so either, but they were going to plant them to make me think that I would! They did bloom. That was two Springs ago!! Wow!

Then, last Fall, TeeTaa (Katha) planted some tulips for me in her garden in Georgia... for me(miss Cindi), that is, and another woman who had lost her young life to lc. A few weeks ago, she sent pictures of a garden full of red tulips and purple faced pansies! By the way, Katha wishes everyone good health and love and is a busy woman with the girls and kitchen remodeling that went on and on for months. Also, Caleb, her nephew who lost his eye to a bb, tried twice for an transplant that failed so he will have a glass eye.

Which brings me to mention a huge joy. The joy I have found in freindship with many of the members of this board that extends beyond this board. I will be feeling like crap, and sometimes not be presentable to the world, but I can yuck it up from my bed with my laptop and connect with real people who are going through some of the same dilemas that challenge me. I don't feel so alone or isolated. Thanks to Katie and Rick for providing this site. And thanks to all of you who make me smile and laugh out loud... Frank and John!

Gotta love the newcommers. They hold a special place in my heart. I remember when I was scared shotless (I got that one from bunny today)! I remember the terror that ran through me. It didn't take long though to muster some courage. I think that finding that this is a disease that truly can be beat back by seeing examples of others who are doing it can be a huge boost to a someone who is in the early minutes, hours, days, or months of diagnosis.

So. It gives me pleasure to offer hope to others who are facing the same challenges. And hope is what keeps me going.

All for now.

Thanks, Leslie!

Cindi o'h

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I hate this site, I love this site.

I hate the reason we are all here. I hate the bad news that happens way too often here. I hate everything about this disease.

I love the people here. There is such wisdom and caring and support, there is such a sharing of good times and bad times, woohoos and prayers.

I can't mention names because at my predementia age I will surely forget someone. But 99% of our members are terrific people and I am proud to be in the group. 1% are the idiots that crash or hack here and in some ways they probably have a bigger problem than lc.

Thank you.

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I became a cancer survivor the moment I quit being a 'victim.' When first told that I had lung cancer, I was stunned, shocked, and speechless; unable to think anything other than 'I'm a dead man.' That lasted a few days. Then I got angry. I watched both parents die from cancer. I promised my son; I will not lie down for this disease.

Becky put it so well ... Life goes on. And I'm going to be a part of Life. Cancer can be a wake up call, if I will, to focus on parts of my life that are truly important to me. My family and friends, my spiritual health, my eating habits have changed immensely. And my career became just a means to pay for greens fees. (my picture is me standing on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach)

Only One knows the day and time of my coming home ... and until that day and time arrives, I do more than survive; I live!

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Wow! I just had to say that you guys are awesome. I was just wondering about this question myself! My dad was diagnosed in May and was I thinking about the luminaria for the Relay for Life. I could honor him, because he is a survivor!!!!

Becky, thanks for your inspirational words! I shed a few tears while reading it~

Cathy

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When I first saw this topic - LC Survivors - my first thought was "I can't post there, I'm not a survivor." But after reading the very upbeat posts, I've decided I must be a survivor since I haven't dropped dead yet - even after all the devasting news and invasive testing and procedures. I know that the outlook is grim - I probably won't be here a year from now according to statistics - but until then I'm a survivor and I'll try to live each day to its fullest.

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I just wanted to add a little something to this post. Unlike most of you that have responded to Leslie's question, I do not have cancer. Do I consider myself a survivor? Absolutely! For almost 10 months, I watched the love of my life battle this monster that was growing inside his body. My body felt the same pain and my mind had the same questions and fears. After a time, I was convinced that neither of us would survive the battle. I believed that we would both fall prey to cancer. I feared Dennis would not live and I was convinced I could not and would not live without Dennis. Dennis. although the bravest warrior I have ever seen, lay down his sword and died in battle. For a time, I wanted to join him and leave the pain, suffering and lonliness far behind. As time passed, I was able to cope with the pain and remember good times rather than only suffering. I believe that I am a survivor of cancer. Cancer did not defeat me and I pray that before my life is over a time will come when this monster claims no more victims.

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WOW !! What great answer's and i the husband of a survivor (18 month's ) can only repeat what she say's and that is i'll go when GOD call's me and i'm not going just yet as i have to much left to do.....

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I think the minute you decide to take the reins and fight the disease you are a survivor. When I was laying on a table getting radiated after my chemo session I knew right then and there I was going to survive the nightmare...and so far, so good, I have.

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So very glad, Leslie made that trip to Pompeii and lived her life to the very end. Will definitely miss her and her cheerleading. Glad to have met her, sad that we lost her.

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April 1 marks the day in 2004 I was discharged from the hospital after surgery to repair my spontaneously broken femur, which in turn led to my dx of NSCLC Adenocarcenoma stage 4 (liver, spine, more bones and brain). 2 years later, all is 'unremarkable' on the scans and MRI - nothing happening anywhere! I seem to have that mutant gene that makes Iressa do its thing.

Every day my husband Randy starts the day by saying 'Look, another great day' and ends it by saying 'we've just had another great day'. We've learned to take each day as it comes and to be grateful for what we've been given. Just this morning Randy admitted he didn't take pictures of me the first year I was sick because he didn't want to remember me that way - no one expected me to be around today and certainly didn't imagine I'd be totally cancer free. Fortunately, no one told me and it has never occurred to me that I would not keep going.

So, in a few weeks, we are going to celebrate having dodged all the bullets that came our way in 2004, and host a party to honor and thank a fantastic support net! Docs, nurses, friends and the prayer groups and all the people who get my husband's newsletter and are given hope that their loved ones can make it, too!

Now, if I can only figure out why my hair is falling out again... :?

Best to you all!

Carol

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Check your med list... I believe one of Iressa's side effects is hair loss. I was on Tarceva and had hair loss... as I read deeper into the info (small print ) it did indeed say hair loss as a side effect.. I didn't care as long as I can get out of bed and start my day ( notice I said start ?) somtimes I'm too tired to finish. I'll go bald forever !! It's only hair.

My biggest WANT was to be here for my newest grandson ...!!! and i was ..he was born jan 26, 2006 Patrick Oneida and of course he's beautiful !!

I keep telling the other kids if they'd keep having babies I could outlive them ( They laughed )

MY oldest granddaughter is the card of the group. she's 6 ..she knows about the LC and knows the DX - we were talking about her going to college one day and I told her if I can I'll be at her graduation ...she gives me the LOOK and says "you know grandma you're not going to live to be 100 ! I looked at her surprised and said why not 'SHe looked at me like I was CRAZY and touched her chest and said you know grandma tha LC " So I told her that if I couldn't make it in person I'd always be in her heart.. she gave me that LOOK again and said "No you'll be there in the front row " So I guess I have a Lot of fighting to do ..

maybe Becky would lend me her duct tape - that monster and I have some fighting to do !!

thanks to all who listen to me ramble so many times

sue

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I guess I can comsider myself a survivor today. My MRI remains clear.... with just the hole from last June's surgery on my brain. My neurosurgeon told me I've already beaten the odds of survival since the med books gave me just 6-9 mths... Although my wonderful med team stretched my time to possible 1-2 yrs. My 3 mth MRI's and neuro visits have changed to 6 mths now. Isn't it womderful when the beast backs up amd hides for awhile.?1?!

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