Jump to content

Life plans


LexieCat

Recommended Posts

I've always tried to be realistic about my cancer, while being as optimistic as I can. Realistically, I think it's very likely I won't have a long retirement to worry about affording--my goal is to have as good a life as I can, for as long as I can.

The past few weeks, though, I've started to worry about how I will manage if my health doesn't improve soon (either as a result of this trial or of the radiation therapy I'm looking into as the next step). My next door neighbors, bless them, have driven me to appointments as needed. But they will be headed to Florida on January 1st until around Memorial Day (give or take a few weeks). I'm finding it difficult to do anything physical for very long--e.g., walking from parking garage to offices at medical center; shopping. I'm doing curbside pickup again for most shopping. 

Though my daughter has offered to come out again for a spell, it is difficult for her if she doesn't know how long she'd be needed. So I've sort of had all this stuff spinning around in my head, feeling more stressed out about logistics than anything.

As much as I'd like to be able to handle things on my own, I finally reached out to my brother and my ex (kiddos' dad--we are still close friends). I didn't talk very long with my brother--he was at Disney World with his son's family--but he said he would think about it and touch base with me as soon as he gets home. My ex then just happened to call, and I told him what I was worried about. Though I never really had the desire to move back to Colorado, that's where my whole family is. All things considered, it seems to make more sense to move me out there than it does for them to struggle to get out here to be with me. So he sent me a web page with info on Assisted Living places in their area (significantly cheaper than NJ prices), and told me his wife said I was welcome to stay at their place for any transitional period I might need (yeah, his wife is awesome, too). 

I feel better having gotten this stuff out in the open. I'm thinking of what we did to get my dad and stepmom moved from their Arizona home to Assisted Living in Oregon. We hired a "Senior Move Manager" who did an awesome job kind of overseeing the whole operation. It was money well-spent. There's one nearby that has great ratings, so that might simplify things quite a bit. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lexie,

Cancer survivor or not, aging well or not so well involves significant logistics. Good job getting ahead of the curve.

I am lucky to be alive but I have a life complicated with many impairments. Fortunately my wife is with me to tackle the things I can no longer perform. Moreover,  and perhaps more importantly, I have close associations with my general practice, oncology and pulmonology physicians and their medical practices. Colorado is blessed with many fine medical institutions. One word of caution, however. Be careful of the altitude of where you want to settle. Mile-high Denver with an impaired lung functions is not an ideal location.

Stay the course.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The altitude thing occurred to me, too, but it's where the family is. Actually, Colorado Springs (where I grew up) is higher-altitude than Denver. And Denver is where the CU medical facilities are. Even if I wind up needing supplemental oxygen at some point, it's overall better, I think, than managing alone here in NJ. I have friends willing to help, but when it gets to be more than an occasional ask, it's not a great situation. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You’ve always been a very practical person and I think it’s very smart to be thinking ahead- another upside to Colorado is access to one of the world’s best lung cancer teams at CU, that’s where a lot of clinical trials are as well.  
Moving is daunting but the senior move manager is a great idea we looked into it to move Tim’s parents until they refused to leave Maine.  
When Tim’s family came to the US they were based in Boulder for a while, Jersey followed and that’s where they stayed for 20 years.  Tim is still complaining about NJ. So he would say happily, beat feet to the mountains.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OTOH... interesting article saying lung cancer mortality actually DROPS at higher altitudes: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1559325818769484/

And I know the higher, drier climate was always recommended for TB patients, back in the day....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That doesn’t surprise me. We have family in the Springs that we’ve made several trips to see post diagnosis.  We had a lot of conversations with my onc about the altitude. We was very nonchalant about it saying the body adapts, actually produces more red blood cells at higher altitudes which transports O2 more efficiently.  He actually thought it would also reduce fatigue- which I think he was right- once we recovered from the long drive I was able to do more things there.   Plus-over 300 days of sunshine a year.  
 

Traffic is bad and so are the new toll roads but you have all that in Jersey too.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, yeah, Denver traffic totally sucks. My daughter thinks NJ is worse, but that isn't how I see it. OTOH, at least people in CO are better at driving in snow--here everyone freaks out when there's even a light dusting of snow.

For me, the biggest appeal is having the family nearby. My brother is in the Springs, his son is right outside Denver (where my daughter lives), and my elderly aunt lives in the Springs, too--I'd like to see her again. It wasn't as big a deal to be away from them when I could easily get out there at least once a year for a good visit, but now I'm probably gonna need more.

Right now I'm keeping things tentative--it would be nice if I could wait till late spring/early summer to do anything major. But I did send an email to the Senior Move Manager to request a consult. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry you're having a hard time with your day-to-day activities. It's good to hear that you're taking practical steps to get the support you need.   You're lucky to have supportive family. If you want to postpone your move to spring, is hiring some in-home help in the interim a possibility?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lexie,

You are so smart to plan for the future.  As Tom said, whether disease or even older age we need to be thinking about a time when we may not be able to do everything we do today.  Moving to CO sounds like it may have multi-benefits for you.  I'm sure the move will be a pain in the neck, but you are smart to think of a place with a full support system and good medical facilities.  I also like Bridget's idea of in-home support for a bit as a move in winter seems not as advisable as one in the Spring/Summer.

Lou

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My sister lives in Colorado Springs and I've found the altitude to be difficult, even before my diagnosis. But I was there visiting and didn't have time to acclimate. 

You're being very thoughtful about your next phase. I think that assisted living is a great option. And yes, it will be much less expensive than the East Coast. Believe it or not, it's cheaper here in California too. We've already chosen where we will go when living independently becomes difficult. 

I also think it's wise to be near family when you're older, even if you're healthy. That's why we moved out here from the East Coast 7 years ago. 

BTW, they make portable cans of oxygen that you can get in Walmart. I could have used that the last time I was in the Springs. 

Best of luck with this decision. It's a big step but think of all the support you'll be getting. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I have things covered for the next few months. My daughter can be here from late December till early March, and my cousin in California said she can come out and stay here after that. By then I should have an idea whether the trial meds are working—and if they do I may be feeling much stronger. 

I need to stay here as long as I’m in the trial. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If/when you come out here, I’d love to meet you in Denver, Lexie. You are my inspiration. I’m at 9000 feet and don’t seem to have breathing problems despite having only 1 1/3 lungs. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Scruboak said:

If/when you come out here, I’d love to meet you in Denver, Lexie. You are my inspiration. I’m at 9000 feet and don’t seem to have breathing problems despite having only 1 1/3 lungs. 

That would be great! And glad to hear you're coping with the altitude OK. Heck, I grew up there so I barely notice it when I visit. I've been there a few times since my lobectomy and had no problems. The thing is that right now I am experiencing shortness of breath, due to the cancer, presumably. But hopefully it won't be any worse there than it is here at sea level. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lexie - 

I'm happy to see that you have some options for both CO and NJ. While I didn't have to make big decisions like you're facing, I did find that after I made some critical decisions while going through treatment that a weight was lifted from my shoulders. This allowed me to focus on treatment. I hope that everything breaks your way. You deserve it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.