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How To Survive Cancer Part I B

Updated on July 29, 2015

I Have Cancer What Do I Do?

Cancer! You have got to be kidding, I can't have cancer. I am healthy!

Take a deep breath. You have been sucker punched, you need to catch your breath.

Then start asking the questions. If you don't know what to ask. Ask your nurse or doctor what questions to ask. When you think of a question in the middle of the night write it down. Bring lists of questions written on a napkin if you have to. Writing the questions helps your doctor give you answers. Keep asking. "What questions should I be asking?"

The questions you ask will be dependent on what you decide. Are you a victim of cancer and life has dealt you a bum hand? Is there a plan for your life no matter how long or short? You decide which you are and then decide if you are happy with your decision. I have asked these questions twice along the cancer road. My decisions are made with the premise that I was created for a purpose. Therefore my decisions may be different than yours. This life is too short to sit and worry about treatments. Don't battle cancer, battle discouragement, battle nausea, battle hair loss depression, but don't battle cancer. Fighting cancer is a losing battle. It is like fear, bitterness or worry. There is a good possibility fear, bitterness and worry got you cancer in the first place. Believe me, it was worry that weakened my immune system. Worry wasn't worth it. What did I nearly turn my stomach inside out worrying about? My kid's schooling was the culprit; he graduated just fine on his own.

First Question: Am I a victim?

You must ask this hard question of yourself, " Am I a victim"? "Of course I am a victim", you might say. In my case it would be justified. I am a non-smoker, allergic to dairy and gluten, therefore have a low fat diet. I love vegetables. I exercise regularly and drink gallons of filtered water.

Honestly, I took this direction for a little while. Victim really doesn't fit my persona.

Decisions about how the whole cancer treatment, living, dying scenario is going to play out must be made. You must take control of the rest of your life. Will you live well and die well, or will you give up and suffer? Everyone who goes through chemotherapy suffers. The decision is whether you are going to suffer or if you are going to call the advice center and ask what can be done to help with symptoms.

Look For Inspiration

A nurse friend is on a hospice case; the children hate their mother. They won't visit her or care for her. They pay someone to care for her. Get things right with your family. Apologize, Keep boundaries firm while asking and giving forgiveness. Say "I love you". You don't need to restart unhealthy relationships. It is never too late to get your part in a relationship right.

Amanda Ripley in her book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why, says, people who survive in crisis, ”Believe they can influence what happens to them.” I completely believe this. I want you to be equipped to ask questions, and give you the ability to help direct your path down the cancer road. The trip to cancer and back is a scary one, but you don't have to be locked in fear; there are things to do and people to ask for ideas. Don’t give up until it is your time to go. My belief is that every person is created with a purpose. Rick Warren had written a book called The Purpose Driven Life can help you understand why I believe this.

Then "Smile, it makes people wonder what you have been up to".

Just recently I was motivated to laugh more. A friend of mine has the most infectious laugh you are likely to hear. She loves to laugh. Her laughter comes from great joy. Somebody who hears her laugh might think she is a ditz. She is anything but. One of her children is a dentist, one is a scientist and the other is a concert pianist. She has had great sorrow in her life, but has chosen to live life to the fullest, laughing all the way. When I need to laugh I call her. The first time I called her, to ask her to laugh, it was amazing. We both needed therapy and laughter is great medicine.

Second Question: Is There Anything I Can Do About My Situation?

Amanda Ripley also puts forth the idea that you can improve your chance of survival during a disaster. She may be referring to things like fires and shooting, but I believe there are some things your can do to improve how you survive cancer. I am saddened by stories of people who have battled cancer until they lost their lives. They go to war plotting and planning only to lose in the end. That is what the obituaries always say. Cancer is something I live with. My battle is to focus on life and not cancer. You can do so much about your situation . Chemotherapy dictates your time living with cancer. Some of the things I learned going through chemo the second time made life so much better.

It is important to value the little things of life. If there is a thought of calling someone. Call them. Don't hesitate they probably need to hear from you. Have lunch with someone. Don't let cancer get the best of you. Follow the instructions the nurses give you to avoid nausea. When you get tired take a nap and then get up and live. Don't give excuses for not exercising. Exercise makes you tired, then you can sleep through chemo fatigue. Eat well. If you haven't been start. If you do, keep up the good work. Drink lots of water.

Third Question: What Should I Do First?

First you need a support team. Who do you know that will help you? A church or temple group is a good place to start. Neighborhood groups and family groups are good resources. There are support groups through hospitals, gyms and the American Cancer Association .You need to ask for help. When you have been told you have cancer you need to rethink who you are and decide what you believe. If you have faith in Christ,you need to know what the bible says about why you are on this earth, why you have cancer, and where you are going when you die. If you don't have faith in Christ, but adhere to some other religion I hope that your beliefs give you as much comfort, purpose and strength as mine gives me. .

Doctors Don't Have All The Answers But There Are Other Helpful People

MD doesn't stand for,"Mighty Divinity" MD stands for medical doctor. Doctors go to school and learn medicine. Doctors don't learn much about healthy eating, or how to help their patients through hard times. Though doctors don't have all the answers they are helpful in directing you to people who will help.

  • Ask a nutritionist how to eat well.
  • Ask your pharmacist questions about your treatments. They are the ones who know the compounds and understand the side effects.
  • Ask your chemo nurse if you have questions concerning just about anything.
  • Ask your doctor about the best course of action. That is a question that he will be able to answer well.

Keep asking questions. There are so many variables in cancer treatment. Please remember your doctor isn't all powerful and all knowing. He can't tell you how successful treatments will be or the length of your life, try to keep questions within the scope of his expertise.

The best medicine for what ails me is travel, and laughter.

Find what gives you greatest joy and live life to the fullest.


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      I have been pondering the end of life as parents and friends have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Of course I ponder my own end of life and have come up with the same conclusion you have: "Don't miss today". Thank you so much for visiting. Bless you and your family

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Thank you for sharing this...My daughter and grandson both have cancer and I have written about it more than once (A rare disease..Behcet's syndrome) is a one wants to take this one..but we have been empowered by it.

      Our lives have been touched in so many ways and we have learned that every day is a gift and to treat it that way. One of our mantras is: don't miss today!!!

      May God bless you each day.

    • profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago

      I wouldn't either! Faith Reaper

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Blessings Faith- Don't like this task assigned to me, but wouldn't trade it for anything. The blessings have been amazing.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, great hub! Last year I had DCIS (Breast cancer) and He healed me. I knew it before they came and told me, as I saw the white cluster of calcifications, and I just knew, but the wonderful part is that after I saw that cluster, I immediately prayed, and then His peace, the peace surpasses all understanding came over me. I told Him that I would glorify him through this. Reminds me that I need to write on my experience too. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

      radhikasree- Thank you for kind word of encouragement

      Faith does indeed bring light into my life.

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 6 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Courageous and open words. Life is a melange of happiness and sorrows. Optimistic thinking and faith in God will always bring light into your life.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

      Angie Jardine- Thank you for your thoughtful comment and following.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Wise words, tirelesstraveler ... I too believe that we can influence what happens to us. Life is a succession of choices, none of which are wrong ... they just have different outcomes. And whichever path you take teaches you a valuable lesson ... if you are open to it.