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3 am - Chance to re-examine life?


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Good morning to all,

Can't believe I am wide awake at 3 am - I love to sleep. :evil:

AS we have all seen, life with cancer has a way of messing with the mind :shock:

The one thing that I have thought since diagnosis was that this illness gave me the opportunity to reexamine my life and make adjustments to make whatever time I have left - say another 40 years or so - and make my life more fulfilling. You know the "this is a sign" to make a difference somehow mentality.

I have made the big changes - dial back the job and stress levels, enjoy my families and friends more, cherish the small things, tell people how important they are to me always, etc......

But I haven't figured out "what I should be doing" or "what is the reason that I got sick". I am approaching my 1 year anniversary and feel like I should have figured it out by now. The down side is - I am at a loss, havent figured anything out. Sometimes I feel panicked about it, others I think I am making to much out of it and maybe I should just relax and enjoy the ride.

I am sure there will be wide varying thoughts on this one, I would think that I am not the only one that has gone through this process.

Did many of you come to some big revalation? Did you end up making major changes in your lives? Thoughts???

Thanks in advance!!


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Hi Wendy---I sure wish I could say my life did a complete turnaround---but it did not---when I was first diagnosed, I could have been nominated for sainthood---I was so loving, nice and sweet to everybody--, took time to get in touch with nature, etc.

--then little by little , I have returned to my normal cranky self-----I get annoyed with people on the train, annoyed when people cut the line, annoyed when I get jostled when I am walking--

I am the same as I was before---I am being honest, but I take each day for granted and honestly, other than my big scar, it all seems like it never happened. I know I was truly one of the very very lucky ones, and I am thankful for that but I really cannot say that I have changed at all. I know time has a ton to do with it---as I am nearly 5 years from surgery.

The only thing different is "insurance"--I am afraid to make changes in my life because of the health, disabilty and life insurance. In the past, if a better opportunity came along, I would take it---I can no longer think like that.


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You, my dear,are singing to my soul as I have been un-successfully trying to 'figure out' life before, during and after cancer too.

I remember in particular one moment of meltdown shortly after dx. I suddenly realized my life had always been work, work, and more work. I married at 18, had 4 babies by 27 and diagnosed on my 37th b.day. I couldn't shut off the tears as I realized it may all be taken away and I had not had nearly enough fun! I made a vow that IF I got better I would enjoy life, stop worrying so much, HAVE FUN!


I am amazed how quickly I am falling into my old routines. Getting caught up w/work, kids, booster club, etc. And then I panic because I don't want my life to go back there. But what do I want??? Actually, I know what I want but it won't pay the bills. Where is that happy medium?

Speaking of getting caught up, I've got to get to work. I'm going to think about this today and maybe I'll come up with some huge revelation, I'll let ya know. ha


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I thought going thru this would result in more changes....but there's hardly been a chance yet. :(

I figured, for the privelege of surviving....at some point it would become known to me just what it is I should be doing to "pay back". Something more than any efforts I'm making now....such as knitting and donating preemie caps to the hospital, which I started a couple of months ago.

Well....I'm just 4 mos. out from the end of chemo...and the cancer is back. So now I'll be focusing on the fight again, rather than on something that reflects how "cancer has changed my life".

I know for some people, it's easier to make major changes....like in diet or exercise or maybe lifestyle in general. Maybe they hop in the car or on a plane and travel more.

In that regard, my life has changed little, but for those "friends" who kinda disappeared. My social life has sort of taken a nosedive....but then I haven't had the same energy for it anyway. My really close and dear friends have stayed in touch....so my time is focused on them and on my family.

With this recurrence....well, things seem a bit more urgent but I'm still sorting things out mentally AND we have to see how well chemo works this time too. But it's still my family and close friends that I want to concentrate on.

No place I need to travel....with one possible exception. I've always said that ONCE, before I die....I want to play Pebble Beach golf course! My hubby has played it....but I never have. We'll see how that trip might shape up sometime this summer or fall.

Otherwise, I pretty much figure to keep on doing what I'm doing, hoping that I manage to spread a little random kindness along the way!

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Interesting thought and great to hear you talk of utilizing this experience. I had a traffic experience that could have been bad and my wife always says that "this is a sign". It happened the day I got the old X Ray. This is definitely a mind bending experience and hard to wrap your mind around. I was like Eileen at the beginning, I gained a tremendous amount of humility. Then it slowly drifted away as I began to feel better. But the thought remained and I am humbled that it could be worse and certainly was.

I definitely made a change, my life is now geared toward living to feel better tomorrow. all else is secondary. Part of that gear comes from, I owe it to those that want me to hang around. Not just living in a surviving sort of way. It would be nice to start over again and treat my body with reverence for the future, so in the future I would have been healthy. I found out starting over is a state of mind and time. I’m never going to be a CEO or even a superintendent, so I no longer will push myself to be successful at a job, if I’m forced to go back to work. I gave during the big part of my life, no more. I will only do what I like to do if that brings “success“, great, if not, oh well. I don’t need the trimmings any longer.

My goal is a healthy life so I can enjoy what I want in life. A few months prior to my symptoms setting in I commented to my wife I don’t want health without money. Man, did I back up on that.

I also am thankful that I had years of enjoying the fruits of life and that helped me accept that its now time for a change.

I didn’t expect to be here today and didn’t expect to ever feel good again. I wish everyone could enjoy my good fortune. Keep hunting for why, you’ll find it.

Keep up the fight.


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A very intersting post. I, at first thought it was a form of punishment, this disease. I must of done something really bad to get this. I then went to anger, alot of resentment, the why now thing... Then I wondered maybe I am suppose to have this for a reason ,yet determined. I am really not sure still why I am still here, what I am suppose to do with that, is there knowledge forthcoming. Signs..Like on the street, I try to be positive always, smile more often, love alot, give forgiveness, and try to be a better person all around. But I still get agitated and mad and I do not always say or do the right things. I hope to be stronger, more fortified, from this experience.. I did discover I am much stronger than I once gave myself credit for. I was able to do things others were not able to do. But is that a sign?...to do what with?.... When I can look back 50 years from now, as a continued survivor, maybe the light will go off. But what to do in that 50 years, I guess just live your life as you did before, one day at a time..... but this disease changes us all in one form or another ....gina

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Wendy, it sounds to me like you have already moved in a positive direction with your life -- taking advantage of the moment, expressing to others their importance to you, not sweating the small stuff. The biker, Lance Armstrong's, mother told him "Make every challenge or setback an opportunity." I believe that. We don't really know why we get cancer, or any other calamity. But one thing is to use our experience and knowledge to help others walking the same path, as we do here on the website. Our purpose, I believe, is tied to our passions (things we love to do) and to the needs around us. This means we are called to do those things that give us joy and at the same time fulfill a need in the world. That is where I look for what I am supposed to be doing. That is how I believe. Don

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I know in our lives, things will never be as they were and yes , we are constantly examining where we are , trying to deal with day to day struggles and make some sense out of all this. God and prayer have become a constant source of hope and strength. We feel lost, but I think there have definitely been spiritual gifts. I think I will feel I am more in control when I can express myself as eloquently as Don Wood and to be able to gain the focus in my life that he has. Thanks Don for sharing the best of yourself with us. Thank you Wendy for starting this thread. Perhaps I will think of a better way to express myself the next time I am up in the middle of the night... :wink: which is often.


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Did I make any changes and/or revelations? Let's see:

> Dumped the unloving boyfriend

> Moved into a new place

> Got a dog - who I love!

> Got a motorcycle - which I love!

> Got promoted - in a job I love!

> Made some new friends - and have FUN with them!

Why did I do all this? 'Cuz I realized there were things "I've always wanted to do", and was just waiting for the right boyfriend, opportunity, money, whatever - but know now - there's no time to wait!

I spend very little energy on anger or with bitter/angry people - just no patience for it.

I didn't want to just survive - I wanted to LIVE!

I hope you can find your motivation soon,

Hugs and prayers,


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Upon diagnosis, I guess I was like that G.I. in a foxhole in ww2, being shelled by artillery....I thought my god, let me get thru this somehow and Ill change my ways. Even thought of getting religion, tho Im just not religious.

I went home in shell-shock, after surgery....concentrating on controlling pain and recovering, etc. I was motivated to begin getting my house in order, ie, Living Will, Medical pwr of attorney, etc. Even wrote my goodbyes to family , to file away for that eventuallity. I have intended to gather all my useless junk (packrat stuff) to haul out, leaving only the house and reasonably useful stuff as my estate, if I should lose the fight, but having a hard time getting started on that one yet.

I seem to be falling back into old routines, and habits....even resumed that nasty smoking habit that may have claimed one lung already....sigh....Im jus one of those fools who love to smoke.

Anyway, any thoughts I may have had of grandiose changes or accomplishment s in the time I have left have faded now, dont seem so impprtant anymore. I guess I am what I am, and I live how I live, and Im just not going to overhaul my life much. I may travel to visit familly a little more often, but probly not much else will change. Who knows what I might do later, with the threat of recurrent cancer hanging over my head, I do tend to think about changes more, but havent acted on much yet. Dunno....Rich B.

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