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"Thinking" about cancer


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Well I am at home today basically doing nothing. Nothing except thinking about cancer. I see it is a slow day on the boards today and I have been thinking about posting this for some time, so what the heck.

Since my diagnosis..."thinking" about cancer seems to be my full time occupation. I actually talk very little about it at home because I have young kids and they surely don't need to hear about it. That is probably why I come here so darn much, because I am always thinking about it and here at least there is an outlet to express those thoughts morning, noon or night. I do talk a little bit more about it at work actually. Because people there are always asking me how I am doing and feeling and I tell them because they have much empathy.

One of the reasons (I have a number of them) that I continue to go to work is because there I can get totally engrossed in what you guys would think is boring work stuff, and before I know it I have been in a meeting for an hour or two and realize I have thought of cancer very little if at all. That is because I am passionate about my work. I also find passion in doing things with my family but they of course are not around all the time.

I read early on in my diagnosis that finding something you really are passionate about and putting your heart and soul into it really does help with your general well being, positive outlook and in thinking less about cancer. And I believe it. But one can't be passionate all day (in or out of bed!) and there are many hours that pass.

I wonder if the further out you get in surviving this disease, the less you think about it. That has not been the case for me yet but I think that is very difficult when you are going through active treatment. I know some longer term survivors leave this board to do just that. To get on with their life and think less about it. And who would blame them. I also wonder about spouses and primary caregivers. How much do they think about cancer?

I know I am not alone in this. How much do you think about cancer, as a survivor or a spouse/caregiver? And has it lessened over time? And what have you found effective in helping not to think about it as much?

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts with all of us.


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Well my dad only got his diagnosis a few weeks ago and as a caregiver I think about it all the time!!! I think it's unhealthy for me to be thinking about it as much as I do, but I just can't help it. Even when I'm really busy it's still there, nagging away in the back of my mind.

For the first week of knowing I would literally wake up in the morning with Cancer on my mind. But now, I manage to actually get myself out of the bed before any thoughts come to mind.

I think the thing with me is that I'm thinking '1 step ahead'. So, this time last week I was thinking how my dad is almost through his first Cycle and today I am thinking ahead to next week when he will start his 2nd cycle.

Then I think of the bad of all of this and remind myself to be positive and think about the good, although as you all know, sometimes that's easier said than done.

I don't know how much my dad actively thinks about the Cancer, although it will be mentioned by him at least once or twice a day and quite often I catch him drifting off into his thoughts.

This is such an awful thing for anything to go through or be witness to but we have to keep on fighting and take each day as it comes!!

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Sandra, that is a very touching and honest post. I am only 5 months out of my LC DX, so do I think about the cancer, how about 24-7. Will it lesson, I hope so. That was the case when I was DX with Gallbladder cancer. I had 16 years out from that DX. But, of course with that one I didn't say to much because you just didn't know that much about Gallbladder cancer, and to be very truthful I really didn't want to scare anyone with a gallbladder issue. Some people deal with a bad gallbladder for years, and gallbladder cancer is rare. When the doc told me that they saw a spot on my lung I knew that I had cancer. My only problem was that they thought that the LC was secondary to a pancreatic type cancer, whoa. Well, they ruled that out and the LC was the primary. The boards have been very, very helpful and have given me hope. I am old school and when I was first told that I had LC I thought I was dead meat, to put it bluntly. I try to keep my hands and mind very busy, I still work and I usually have a knitting project in my hands when I am not working. Trying to keep my mind off of the cancer and smoking at the same time. I quit 6 weeks before my surgery.

Thanks to all on this forum, you have made a difference


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Hey Sandra - I was going to send you a PM today; however, after seeing your name and your message I figured I will respond here.

As you know I have taken a break from posting and visiting here - the reasons were numerous for doing so, and while I have certainly missed the daily contact and keeping in touch with you and everyone else that posts here, I have discovered that I didn't "think about cancer" as much as I did when I was on here. That is not to say that it doesn't still invade my thoughts ... I just don't have it in my head 24/7. Now, I am not in treatment and I see my surgeon every 3 months, so I have some space in between the medical visits. I have just found that it is healthier for me not to visit here as often...although I do feel guilty as I feel like I am abandoning everyone here. I hope you know I miss you and I wish I was stronger to be able to continue to support everyone here as they have supported me.

I realize that the day may come again when I will need this place again-I live with that fear; however, since taking this break over the summer I felt less steeped in that fear. It is a comfort to me to know that I will have a soft place to land in this forum should the need resurface.

Will I ever NOT think of cancer - no way. It has changed who I am at the core. Now though, while I am not in the midst of the battle I am forging ahead with my life. I start a new part-time job at a local bank in a couple of weeks and feel excitement for what is to come. It has been awhile since I have looked to the future and made plans and I feel so fortunate to be able to be in that place.

So, that has been what has helped me. I hope I didn't offend anyone by what I said. This forum is so full of the most wonderful, brave and caring people I have ever met and I do not mean to diminish any of that by my post. Katie and Rick have done a wonderful thing here and I will always be grateful.

I still welcome PM's from anyone who has a question or just wants to say hi! I'm sorry for not staying in touch with you over the summer Sandra and I will strive to do better in the coming months. You are thought of often my friend.


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Well I've been on both sides of this fense being a survivor and a caregiver and in answer to your questions I have to say YES we do get to the point where it doesn't consume our lives as time goes on and that's being a survivor & caregiver.

When I first started this journey for me, it took me 2 years before I was able to REALLY out it on the back bunner. But until then it honestly comsumed my life. I didn't have anyone to talk to about it back then, not even the computer, and I DO think if I would have had someone it may have made it easier for me. I asked my Pulm Doc way back then if there were any lung cancer support groups around, but he said he never heard of any. (hence the fact 3 years later he called me and we started up the first ever lung cancer support group in MN). :wink:

As a caregiver, I never stopped worring about my loved ones, but again back then they DID give time lines as to how long someone would live and sadly enough those timelines were all pretty much right on about my mom, dad and sister. So, we never stopped worring or thinking about cancer going through there journeys. At least I never did.

To this day I THINK about my cancer coming back only if I have something wierd going on with my body or something out of the norm that hurts on my body, but otherwise I don't really give it much thought anymore. I have learned over the years that all my thinking and worring isn't going to change ONE THING about something I don't know. I decided to worry about it only if and when someone tells me I have something to worry about. Otherwise I am going to put my brain committee to bed and stop letting it consume my life. I'll deal with it only when I have to and not before.

But in this journey I have also come to terms with it will be what it will be, and that's not only because of my lung cancer, but I am also dealing with heart issues. Turth is, I shouldn't be here to begin with, so each day is a blessing a gift and I am grateful for everyone I have, but I'm at peace in many ways with my mortality also.

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My dad is almost 2 years out and my mom is nearing 5 years.

I think about cancer daily. The term lung cancer is in my head at least 10 times a day. That said, as time went on, it has consumed us a lot less. We do think about it all the time, but maybe the thoughts total 1-2 hours a day instead of 20 hours a day.

Keeping busy definately helps. One day you are going to be surprised and see a few hours go by before it enters your mind.

Hang in t here!

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