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Lung cancer and treatments, side effects, medications, blood tests and scans can take over your life and the lives of those around you.

And those who are long-term survivors will say that LC (support, advocacy, education, awareness) also can consume much of their lives.

There are times that you just want things to be "normal", or rather, "do" something normal.

One survivor described it as "Fishin' for some normal"

Others have called it "taking a cancer break"

Do you take cancer breaks? Describe what a cancer break is to you.

If you aren't able to actually break away from cancer for a whole day or more, are there certain things you do that resembles normal and brings comfort to you?

Post here and share with others who are new to the lung cancer journey and lets help them with our experience.

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I had to learn that I do not need to share the fact that I have cancer with everyone I meet, so that I can do things that feel normal. I am taking a swim class and I did have to let the instructor know I have health issues, there was a health form to fill out, but I did not share the info with anyone else in the class. Not because I am ashamed, but because there is no need for them to know. I don't want special treatment, or to be fussed over. I look normal, feel well and want to enjoy just exercising and being good to myself, visiting and laughing with other class members, not answering question about CANCER.

When I was first diagnosed I told EVERYONE and then wondered why I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. It is okay to just be me. I am not hiding from anything, or anyone, I just am not letting cancer completely define who I am. I still take medication, I still take injections, but I do all the things that I feel I can do and have been cleared by my doctor. I don't focus on what I CAN'T do, but what I CAN do. I feel it is important to advocate in the ways I can for Lung Cancer Survivors, but this life is still mine to live. It is important to me, to still be me.

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Katie, this is a good topic. I've struggled with this for years - and still do. It can be hard to take a "cancer break" when you can't get away from it. Like Susan, I prefer not to announce it to people I'm meeting because to me it isn't relevant to who I am and I certainly don't want it to be. I want to live my life as normally as possible, and the fact that I have cancer isn't relevant to the moment. Sometimes it is hard for me to hide because of my "breathing issues". I usually try to pass it off as just a mild problem, but many people continue to question and then I feel like I have to explain about the lung removal and radiation or simply be rude and tell them I don't want to discuss it. Like Susan I'm not ashamed of it, but I've noticed it does change the chemistry and once they know I don't feel like I'm looked at as being just normal any longer. Once they know, they are always asking if I need to sit down, slow down, take it easy, etc. etc. I know they are being kind and considerate - but honestly it is very hard to take sometimes. My family and friends are actually the worst. "Are we going too fast for you", "do you need a break", "are you getting tired". I know they mean well, but darn it I'm trying to feel normal and forget about the cancer, and they make it really hard to do that. No matter how many times I tell them that I will let them know if I'm tired, worn out, can't keep up, etc. - they just can't seem to help themselves. Since I can't usually hide my breathing problems, I think for me I need to change the way I react to the situation, but so far I haven't found a way to do that.

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I'm now coming up on five years of being cancer free, so yes I take breaks from cancer, and my breaks from it seem to be getting longer. Some things do bring me back to it, like the DoD peer review work I'm doing now, and the DFW walk next month, but I guess each of us has to decide for ourselves how much non-cancer "life" is enough, and I would expect how healthy each of us is can have a large impact on how much non-cancer time we do.

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Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on taking a cancer break.I really dont think in terms of cancer breaks,I like to work with something I would call distraction,my brain is so imaginative,that given full release to think about my lung cancer it could easily encroach on my enjoyment of life.So it dos'nt really matter if I am active as an advocate for lung cancer,or going to the gym,being interactive with all my friends,as long as I am busy,I can easily exclude any negative thoughts of lung cancer.

I can appreciate that other than slight breathing problems,there are no residual effects on my health that can encroach on my physical or mental wellbeing,you have to grasp any advantages you can get with this disease and thank your lucky stars that you have them.Obviously there are quiet moments when I am alone,I may have the occassional thought,of what if? what if ,this cancer makes a reappearance,what view of my world will I have then?,will I be devastated?,unable to cope?,just like a soldier encountering his first introduction to a battle zone,will I be a coward or a hero?.I really dont know,what I have recognised from many of my lung cancer friends who have had this cup of poison handed to them,is their stoic and dignified reaction to their situation,JudyKW and Stephanie spring to my mind in this regard,I can only hope I can deal with that situation with equal fortitude.

Gosh I set out to write this within Katies brief,I hope my ramblings have'nt drifted too far?

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what if ,this cancer makes a reappearance,what view of my world will I have then?

And that, to me, is one of the problems with being in cancer mode too much of the time. That thought seems to creep in more often. And with my attitude of quality of life over quantity, I really don't like to think about how I would handle a recurrence.

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I am not trying to make myself unique here, but with stage 4 cancer, you never get a real break. You know it is still there. You know it is coming back. You are always in or on some sort of treatment. The only break you can get is to fill your mind and life with other things and not give it so much space in your head. It is always really there, it just varies on how much attention you give it. I am working on a truce the cancer and I can both live with. Because even with cancer I still want to live.

Sent from my SCH-I405 using Tapatalk 2

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I agree with Bud. As a several years survivor, I'm drawn back in at scan time or if anything goes amiss with my health, whether real or imagined!

As time has gone on, I try to have as normal a life as possible, and by normal, I mean trying hard not to let myself think of cancer too much.

As with many other things, the passing of time between diagnosis and treatment has helped to temper how much time cancer takes in my life.

It's still always there, just in varying degrees of intensitiy. I want to live my life as well as I can, and I resent missing those beautiful days during the time of my diagnosis that I sat on the couch worrying about what might happen instead of getting out and carrying on with my life.

I couldn't help it at the time, and I know myself well enough to expect that I would probably do the same thing over again if another health crisis comes my way, but I guess that makes it even more important to not let cancer thoughts into my head while I'm having good times health-wise.

Because, like the others have said, I really can't think about my feelings if I were to have a recurrence or a new primary.


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