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Setting new goals and choosing the right paths


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First I am so grateful for good results on my scan! It is great to have so many " unremarkable" organs when I had so many issues just a few short months ago. Keeping positive that my liver will be "unremarkable" too (or at least stable) and it was just a matter of having currents comparisons. I will deal with that this fall after my daughters wedding September 1st.

Today I am dealing with making decisions while I am healthy and my mind is clear and functioning. My time-clock for my life is in a different time zone and I am trying to make the best decisions on how to use that time. I had to make contact with a Realtor to find out the value of our vacation property and cottage as far as selling or renting it out. We have been rehabbing for several years, so there is a lot of time, money, effort and headaches,sometimes. But we have loved it.

Now I have lung cancer. My treatment is on the other side of the state. My family is on the other side of the state. My sister has a small condo I can rent this summer to spend some more time with my sisters, their families and my folks who are aging very quickly right now. It became available suddenly when (and yes, this is true) the roof was struck by lightening and a hole blown right through. The current renters moved out, even though the hole can be repaired. They sort of freaked out. My sister is willing to let me rent to try it out without a lease for a couple of months. I have lived about an hour and a half away from them for about 15 years, near my husbands family. This is my chance to go to the lake, catch a movie, get pedicures, grab a coffee, hang out, and just in general reconnect with MY family. My treatment center is in Ann Arbor, where all my family lives. I stayed there while I went through chemo last summer and fall. Current treatment is oral, so I do not need to be there so frequently, so I am back near my husbands family. Alone, at home 10-11 hours a day, while my husband works. I do see friends or my in-laws sometimes, but lots of NORMAL people work. They aren't as available as I am. It seems like the right thing to do. Seems like the puzzle pieces are falling into place. Long term, I know with stage 4 cancer, I will need more treatment, more medical care than I can receive where I live now. And that also means seeing my husband on weekends only. We had done that for 2 years while I was trying to get a permanent job near our cottage. I worked as a contract worker for those 2 years, but that ended when I was diagnosed last summer.

But, that means selling or renting the cottage. I wonder (and I am sure there are others) who had to ask their spouse or loved ones to make sacrifices and changes to accommodate them in their cancer care. It is not just my dream, but my husbands dream of retiring near Lake Michigan that I am yanking the rug out from underneath. I contacted the real estate agent. She is looking into it, and will get back with me when she can tell me what our options are. I felt like I had eaten a bag of cement after I got her email reply that she would be glad to work with me. And when I told my husband ( I had discussed it with him, but he was dragging his feet a bit) I felt so sad. Cancer does have it's up sides....don't ask me to list them right now, but it also forces so many hard decisions. I don't feel like a really strong person. I have so many weaknesses. It is just so HARD to decide what is the right thing to do. I feel like if I need to make changes, it is best to do them while I can think, (24 hour morphine really messes with your thinking and reasoning abilities) I am pain killer free right now. My sisters are really wanting to spend some time with me. They are all younger and have jobs and children still at home, so their time and lives are a lot less flexible than mine.

How do you know when you are making the right choices? It feels selfish. Can I think of myself first right now? I grew up in a family where GUILT was sort of a family motto. I don't think I need to mention which religion I was raised in for you to figure that one out. Even though I never practiced that religion as an adult, some things are hard to get past. They become such a part of who we are. I want to do the right things. For everyone. It just seems really hard sometimes to separate ourselves from the responsibilities we feel for others.

Any opinions on this one? :)


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Thanks for the advice! It helped me make some decisions. I was feeling pulled in so many directions and wanting to make everyone else happy and thought that would make me happy. I was putting the pressure on myself and not anyone else. I am not ready to make any major changes to my life right now and my health is not saying I have to. I can enjoy this moment and stay put. I don't have to push myself ahead to what will happen next. I can enjoy now. And all my loved ones understand and love me.

One decision made is to find out our options for cottage. We are meeting a Realtor Sunday for a market analysis and to find out our options. It is in a resort area, near Lake Michigan so weekly rentals could bring in some money and allow us to put off a decision to sell. I did all leg work and will let my husband handle from here. We will both be in on decisions.

It was such a relief to not have to make so many decisions all at once. I had a great day! I stopped to see a close friend, had a long visit next to her pool. Lots of sunscreen and then a move to shade to handle the 92 degree heat!

Thank you, all for being here!


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Sue - I can't add much to all the good advice, but wanted to tell you about my experience the first time I was dx with this. I don't know why, but felt like I had to "do something" - so we sold our house (a house I loved and had just finished remodeling), moved to Redding, CA to be near our son and grandchildren (the only grandchildren we had at the time), and started building a new house. We hadn't been there three months when I knew the move had been a mistake. Of course by then we had to finish the house, get it sold, and then move back and look for a new house. I still kick myself for that. I don't think the move itself was a mistake - wouldn't have known if we hadn't tried it -- making permanent decisions and selling our house sure was. We could have either let it sit empty for a short time, or rented it out, but once it was sold it was too late to go back. I'm sure whatever you do will be the right thing for you.

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I think when you have a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis you feel the pressure to make decisions fast because you feel your time is limited. It is very easy to get caught up in the emotional urgency that comes with wanting to grab every bit of life you have left. To think fast and furious and make decisions very quickly without really taking the time to evaluate and consider. When I realized no one really knows how much time they have in life and that I can still make thoughtful decisions without rushing, it was a real relief to me. I still want to enjoy all the moments in my life, but rushing to fast forward my life will not make me any happier.

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Hi Sue,

This is a thoughtful and provoking string of posts. Thank you. I think you are right though, in that, whether you are stage IV lung cancer or not, we only have this day to live. If we really think on that we realize that in this day, today, whatever we do with it has little to do with anything other than what we decide to do with it today! LOL. Is that making sense? I too have morphine brain.

I've been obsessing this week about how tired I am and how sad I am at how much life I am missing. Today I got up at 7:00AM after a good night's rest and by 9:00 was ready to go back to bed. I sat on the couch in tears, having a big old pity party, trying to decide whether to go back to bed or tough it out. I decided I didn't have to do either. I moved my computer to a place where I can stand to work on it so I am not so inclined to fall asleep, and I'm just going to make the most out of whatever it is that is in front of me. If it is sleep again, so be it. But I realize I am missing out on so much because I am so upset about missing out on it!!!! Does that make sense?

Anyway, I love your writing, and it helps me a lot to read as you process your life situations. Thank you for that. You are a blessing to me.

I think that any of us that live with cancer feel rushed at times to get as much done as we can to the point (at least for me) that the quality of what I'm getting done is just not there. That has made me slow down today and just appreciate the moments. (But the roller coaster does not stop running. In ten minutes these feelings may change, so I wrote them down here so I can go back and remember them.) :-)

Take care.

Judy in MI

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