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LIVING with Lung Cancer


KatieB

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two words for me ! "What If" she doesn't wake up tomorrow! that was my biggest fear in dealing with this disease! Money is not everything but the love was everything ! I used to get so scared I would not sleep for hours but just stay in bed and watch and listen to her breathing!!

Wondering what I would do without Deb if she did pass in the night? How would I cope and go on ??

I do and I am now!!!

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I am not currently in treatment for cancer, but I think that my issue is that my confidence in my health is shattered. There is not a day that passes that I don't worry about health issues.

Despite the fact that I do everything to fend off health problems, and get all the screenings, I still worry about it all the time, and I just know it would have been all different if I had not had two experiences with cancer.

I don't think I would have let that worry and concern be so up front if I had not had cancer, but now it's just there, and I don't see it ever going away.

I realize I'm doing really great health-wise, but that is a challenge I deal with all the time.

Cindy

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Differences - How I feel about myself. I have somehow lost my self-confidence. Not sure if that is due to the fear of the unknown future. My relationships at home seem to be changing and I am finding out that I need to be happy and enjoy myself. Appreciate what I have, not what I could of had. I am learning to do things I enjoy. So there are some positives.

Challenges - Always worrying about if the cancer comes back. I have a hard time dealing with the discrimination that comes along with lung cancer. Medical insurance is a big issue for most, I also feel career wise I am done and treated differently. I feel like people look at you as a liability instead of an asset. I have many years to work yet and feel like maybe my career is over. Another issue is my emotions/worrying run high and it does not take me much to stress out.

Other than that everything is just wonderful. LOL

Libby

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We seem to be mostly hearing from those of us who have remained cancer free since surgery. It would be nice to hear from some of those who are living their lives while dealing with ongoing disease.

It's a sure thing that it hasn't been easy for any of us, caregivers or survivors. But I think that those who are waging a long term battle with the disease are facing the biggest challenges.

I have been extremely lucky so far. I was a long distance cyclist before I was diagnosed, with a higher than normal lung function, and surgery only knocked me down into the normal range, so I can function better than I probably have a right to.

Three years after surgery, I have no pain from it at all. I developed some pretty serious exercise induced asthma right after surgery, but it has gotten much better, too. For a couple of days after a 100 mile bicycle ride like I did yesterday, my laugh will sound like a smoker's laugh, but I'll keep laughing anyway.

When I do rides of over 80 miles or so, I start to get some pretty serious pain in my toes, nerve damage from the cisplatin I did, I suspect. Stopping and taking a break stops the pain fairly quickly.

But those are pretty much all the symptoms I have from my surgery and chemotherapy. If you say that none of that is anything to complain about, you would be right. Like I said earlier, I have been extremely lucky so far.

I don't think any survivor can say they didn't have some perspective and attitude adjustments from this kind of diagnosis, though, even one who does as well as I have. I'm trying to spend more time doing things I enjoy, and reducing stresses to try and keep my health good. We'll see how it works.

I really don't worry about scans or recurrence. I just don't see any way that worrying helps, so it's just my nature not to. Of course, that attitude made my original diagnosis a bigger shock, since I wasn't worried, even after the CT scan had been done, but I still think that's better than worrying about something before it has really become something to worry about.

All that said, I spent a lot of time researching and studying, to better know my options and considerations, to be better prepared in case my cancer recurred. I figure that's a better attitude than worrying. That's just me, I guess.

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For me, the extreme of not knowing how I will feel from day to day has been a huge challenge. That was what caused me to go onto disability. I could no longer be counted on to show up for scheduled meetings, to meet deadlines, or to regularly work even a reduced number of hours each day. In turn, that was very stressful, along with the actual stress of the work itself.

In other areas of my life, this spills over as well. I still plan vacations away, but I recognize that the plans may have to be canceled, or that the time may be spent more in rest than recreation. I try to schedule around time that I think I will feel best, depending on treatment schedule.

Regular fatigue is a regulator for me. I try to get out for regular exercise, social activity, cultural activities, etc. but I have to recognize my limitations so I try to not schedule more than one activity in a day. Still doesn't mean I don't sneak in an additional outing when I can. And some days, I don't leave the house at all - not always by choice.

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Well, having been a care giver. None of those that I cared for survived. So it was dealing with grief and all that accompanies that was the issue.

When my disease came, my husband was put in that role. He was fantastic during treatment and my recovery afterwards. His challenge now is that I look perfectly normal, and his expectation was that I would return to the person I once was. Activity levels, and more. But I am not the same as I was before. We had to have long talks about this, because he would get frustrated in my inability to keep up with him on vacations, or outings. He had to learn that you don't just "get better".

For me, as a survivor, I am a better person now than before this disease. My compassion for others is highly elevated. I now realize that every person I meet has a "story". And each of their stories are full of life, death, love, hurt, and all the other emtions that we, as humans, have. I much more attentive to others, and more caring towards them too.

In addition, I appreciate the small things so much more. Last night, my husband and I sat with the lights out, watching the most incredible sunset. It changed every few minutes from light blues and pinks, to deeper pinks, to red, to orange. It was amazing and beautiful. Not sure I'd have even taken the time to notice before.

I try to not worry about the future. Unless the doctor calls and does not leave a message! LOL (as happened this week). But, I believe I will be on this earth as long as I'm destined to be. My faith helps me huge in this area. I take life one day at a time, and not take it for granted. I wake in the morning and thank my Heavenly Father for another day, and try to make the best out of it that I can.

Even though I am challenged physically now, with shortness of breath, and less stamina, it's okay. I can smell, touch, think, see, hear, taste, smell, and I'm alive! I celebrate that.

Judy in MI

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Even though I am challenged physically now, with shortness of breath, and less stamina, it's okay. I can smell, touch, think, see, hear, taste, smell, and I'm alive! I celebrate that.

Judy in MI

I love this quote....I might just steal it to inspire others.

THANK YOU all so much for sharing!!

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