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Balancing Act


Debi

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I know this has all been addressed before but I could use some helpful hints...

I'm trying to figure out the balance between living my "normal" life and reading the boards every day and potentially becoming active in the fight against lung cancer. Although, yes, I have lung cancer, I don't want to be consumed with the fear of it and I can't seem to find my happy medium. Every time we lose someone here, not only does it sadden me but it forces me to look at my own mortality. Sometimes I can't read other forums and am content to go to "Just for Laughs" while I try to balance. There have been so many people that I have wanted to reply to, but was too exhausted to take the time to do so. I want to commit but I can't commit.

I have had a dream several times over the last few months, it is so vivid.... I have to cough and I cover my mouth. When I take my hand away, it is filled with blood. Of course, I have to go to work like any other day after these dreams that don't let me sleep again and I try to not think about my dream, and the feelings left over from it while I go about what has somehow become my life. I do my best but then I have to cough, and am afraid to...I wonder if the dream is actually a premonition, instead of just only a bad dream.

I guess my problem in life has always been that I cannot find a middle, it has always been all or nothing. So for me, it is either total dedication to something or none. I have ideas for support in my area, I actually may have connections for fund raising ideas through my job. At the same time, I have my job, my son, my daughter's family, my life. And in the middle of all this I have this huge fear, that threatens to start nibbling at me at any given moment, immobolizing me. IF it is not the remnants of a dream, it is a pain or an ache, or some feeling that I cannot quite put my finger on.......

I know that my fears will never quite go away but how do you get that balance between facing it every day and putting it behind you at the same time?

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I have no idea how this must feel for you. I have no business answering this post- but Debi, you are my friend and I am going to butt in and put in a cent or two.

My siblings know nothing about lung cancer except that it took my fathers life. They have no interest in activism or support or helping others with the desease or even spreading the word about early detection. They don't want to know. The don't want to be reminded.

Several times when we have lost someone here or someone I have grown very close to - I re-live the intense pain I felt when my dad died- like he just died all over again and I literally fall to pieces for days & days.

So I know what you mean by "all or nothing"

I've asked myself "why" a dozen times...

Now that is something you need to ask and answer for yourself.

Enjoy your life and your health- I know you can't help but be reminded of what "might" be when you read some of these posts, but Debi- I "might" very well be hit by a car tomorrow too.

If I only have one day- let this day be the best it can be- because whatever will happen in the future--is something I can't change anyway.

I pray for you to find peace and answers and to get a good nights sleep!!! ( no dreaming!)

((hugs))

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Katies words as usual were wonderful. It is very difficult to make it all come together and to HAVE a normal life. Especially in the beginning. I know each of us have had to reach some point where we said enough is enough and even if it is just for an hour put lung cancer on the back burner and LIVED.

I know when I was first dxd I threw myself in to doing more at my church. I continued to work every day I could because I am a single person, supporting myself, with a 24 year old daughter and a 4 year old grandson living with me (NOT the blessing it sounds like, lol).

I think I reached a happy medium with Dr.s visits, treatments, work, church and family. I don't date much (not at all now) so I don't have to fit THAT in, lol.

I guess what I am trying to say is it does all come together in a fashion. You just have to decide what is most important and leave the rest for another day (like the laundry, lol)!

God Bless you sweetie and I will be praying for you,

MO

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Debi,

There are others here with more strength than I have, so I can't really offer anything more than my empathy for you and my hopes and wishes that all goes well for you.

A month ago, I hoped I did not have lc. Now I wish that I had been DXed sooner and had more options--or any option. But I also know that had I been Stage 1, it would have been a fear, like the one you face, and that too I think would be so difficult.

Like Dean said once in a post--he knows where the this all ends for him and pretty much knows a timeframe give or take. It is hard for me to come here too and I have thought about trying not to do it. It is painful and some post arouse my fear more than I think is good for me. I know that fear can paralyze--I know all too well.

You need to do what you need to do and not feel bad one way or another. Easier said than done-- I know that all too well, also.

I think of you and your beautiful children a lot.

Elaine

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I have the same problem--how do you go about enjoying your good health (relatively speaking) when this fear is all around you all the time? It's the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of at night. I love reading this board and feel like I am connected with the people here. At the same time, it's hard, hard, hard to read sometimes.

I also wonder how you can expect to get things "normal" again, or the new normal, when you're running around to doctors all the time? I know that I have a particular case since I'm still in the frequent follow-up phase from breast cancer and lc, so my doc visits are doubled, but man o man, talk about a part time job just keeping all these appointments.

Now I sound like I'm whining, and I'm really not--I'm just finding things kind of overwhelming sometimes, plus, I want to do all the things that I missed last year while I was having diagnostic tests, surgery, recovery, chemo, etc.

Strange, really strange........

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Debi (and others),

The other day I was riding the bus with a driver who I knew quite well and who knew what my situation was. As she was unstraping my scooter she commented on my good mood and upbeat attitude (we'd been joking about the job and how driving my 47 inch chair HAD to be easier then driving a 41 FOOT bus). I thought about this awhile and came up with a realization about a skill I'd gained over the years that has made a big difference in my life. The skill is how to FOCUS on what is going on in my life RIGHT NOW. In other words, if I'm in the grocery store I'm focused on buying groceries, not on what was said on this board. Conversely, if I'm on this board I'm NOT thinking about what I need to get at the grocery store!

And this is a skill that can be learned. It's not something someone is "born with" like being tall or having blue eyes or whatever. Considering the work I've done I've had to learn it. The vehicle I spent 8 to 10 hours a day driving weighed 37,000 pounds, over 10 times that of an average car. One slip of concentration and somebody could get hurt very badly.

It takes a bit of work at first, but after awhile it becomes habit and you find yourself focusing on the "here and now" almost automatically.

Mo brought up another thing. Prioritize. Gay has a bit of a hard time with that and I understand as I used to also. But I came to realize a very simple fact. Not everything can be priority one! I have to decide what is important NOW and what isn't. Sometimes that easy, sometimes not, but I'd better do it or I'm going to find myself overloaded and overwhelmed .. and then NOTHING happens (or something bad happens).

So I prioritize. And I make sure that enjoying life is WAY up there on the list. If I'm going to make a trip to the book store (one of the things I really enjoy) I schedule it so there isn't anything else going on and make doggone sure nothing else gets in the way.

So I guess my suggestion is to decide what is important at that moment and then give 100% of your energy to that. Then, when you've given what you could to that, be it this board or your job or your family, decide what the next thing is and do the same. Sometimes the priority is set for us (job, doctor's appointments, etc), but I've found there's a lot of time left in the day for me to set my own priorities. So I do.

On dreams: About the only explination of why we dream what we do that has made any sense to me it this. Dreams, I was told, are a way for the mind to deal with stuff it didn't have time to deal with, or was blocked from dealing wiht by our concious efforts, during waking hours. So if I'm having a recurring dream (and I have had some over the years) I try to figure out what it is I'm not dealing with sucessfully and get to work on that. Usually the dream goes away.

I'm not really sure about all that dream stuff. But it seems to work for me.

I mentioned in another post that cancer is not just a life threatening disease, it's a life CHANGING disease. Seems to me we often have more difficulty accepting the changes in our life than we do the threat to it.

Good luck on finding your "balance", Debi. It's there. You may have to keep banging away at it for awhile, but it'll come together for you.

Dean

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Okay Debbie,

I'm not sure anyone will agree with this, but it's what I've been doing for the past almost 5 years, and it's worked for me. I accept that my world will always be imbalanced, and for those times when being wrapped up in, around, or over Lung Cancer is inappropriate I use DENIAL.

There are specific periods of time when I have to make a conscious decision to NOT think of Lung Cancer.

You can do only that which you can do...you work full time, you're a single parent, and you're still dealing with some of the physical limitations of having had surgery for Lung Cancer. Sounds like a full plate to me. You have to take a realistic look at what you can and cannot do.

As far as the coughing dream goes: I hope you will consider finding a counselor who specializes in working with people who have faced a life threatening illness/experience. What you describe isn't a whole lot different from what folks who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experience.

Hope that tonight you have peaceful dreams...

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Hi O.K.DEBI,

You and I started this life changing journey about the same time.I too have the same fears and I do more like Dean Carl does.

There really is truth in the statement mind over matter.However it doesn't just appear.You must (and can) train your mind thoughts.The best way as Dean says (he has tremendous wisdom)is concentration!!!

I don't post alot because I don't type well (too much time),I'm also basically computer illiterate.But I read the boards alot.Like you I also have a lot of other interests.

Debi you are going to have to find the balance yourself.Mabe more time concentrating on nice things and less time on bad things.

I have had to do this not only living with cancer,but I had to learn to control to survive Viet Nam and other bad experiances in life.

You can do it too.I know this from reading your posts.

PS.When you first started posting it was fun reading your posts because there was a nice hunor in them.Please don't lose the humor in things.

If I can help in any way contact me.I know many others feel the same way.

FRANK.

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I really don't know where to start....

I would like to address you all individually, but that would be too long a post. Each one of you that posted is an inspiration to me in some way...and I really mean that, I'm not one to just say something because it sounds nice....

Fay, denial is sounding good, since I have had so much life experience at that already :wink: . Frank, don't worry I am not about to become dark and brooding.. I wouldn't know how to, for any length of time :shock: . Humor is definitely a huge part of my life and lung cancer isn't going to take away my ability to laugh or to try to make others laugh.

I'm probably a bit bleak because my quarterly check up with the Oncologist from hell is next week. I always feel good after my scan results but it starts wearing off before the next time, just around this time the trepidation starts setting in. I normally don't post that I am going for tests..I feel that I will jinx myself...so I just sit here and act bizarre and needy.

Your collective words of wisdom help much, please keep them coming!

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Hey Deb, it took me a couple of days to figure out what to say. Still can't come up with the right words, but for me, it did get better. I had done this whole cancer circuit before, and decided while still in the hospital bed that this time I was not doing it alone--hence the therapist. We are able to talk through many of those feelings you describe.

Can I forget about the cancer? Yes I can. As time passes, I refuse to give it any more time then it already has taken. Did this happen quickly?? Within a year?? No way. And I still go through rough spots. Some days I don't even want to log in, because I can't face any bad news.

Truly, truly, truly, when I wake up I am thankful.

As a footnote-- April 24th will be my 3 year anniversary. I decided April 24th was an anniversary to celebrate. I have already scheduled a full body "facial" on that day. Last year I had my first facial ever. And you know how I feel about my massages . . .

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I could not help but laugh and cry when I read this strong of posts. It puts the feelings I am experiencing right now into words.

Yes, I AM happy that my mom was possibly restage incorrectly and it might be 2B instead of 3A.

Yes, even if it is 3A, I AM happy that her path report was good.

BUT I sit here and read all of the posts and signature lines and realize that so many whom I have come to know were "clean" or in remission or doing well and then BOOM, mets. It is like Fay said, Ed has a way of re-entering our lives and I sat here tonight crying, hitting the sofa and not understanding why Ed has to do that.

The fear and uncertainty is overwhelming. And I feel SOOOOOO guilty for even sharing my feelings here b/c I AM lucky, right now my mom is in lots of pain and recovering from surgery, but she does have a chance.

I want to be an activist b/c my mom cannot be one and I feel like I have had rare good fortune with this beast so far. I just wish I cou ld get past the everyday feeling of fear and anxiety.

I am glad to know I am not alone. Well now, let me take that back, this is utter torture, so I don't wish it upon anyone, I'd rather be alone. But at least I know others feel like I do, so we don't have to call the paddy wagon and tie my hands with a white jacket just yet ;)

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