Caramel and Parsley was started years ago when we were having severe, life threatening, medical issues with my husband’s allergies. Over the years, through change of diet and lifestyle, his health has improved incredibly. CAP was a way to document the plethora of information available and record what is happening in our own lives to hopefully help others on a similar journey. Ironically, while on this journey I myself have been dealing with my own medical issues regarding possible cancer recurrence. Here are some thoughts and suggestions if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a serious illness.
We are all different but our adult children were upset for not telling them of my illness right away. Now they are fully aware of what is happening. It can be more complicated to share this information with extended family and friends and that is an individual decision.
Life is easier than you think.
All you have to do is :
Accept the impossible,
Do without the indispensable,
Bear the intolerable,
Be able to smile at anything.
Each of us will deal differently with our infirmities and illnesses both physically and emotionally. Sometimes I think it is harder for family and friends when you tell them you have “cancer” as most people think the worst and a lot of people bury their head in the sand because they don’t know how to deal with this news. When talking with people I say “cancer is not contagious” which one of my cancer surgeons says often!
Life is what happens after you make other plans
Coping with appointments
A difficult experience for me is to personally deal with is the large amount of stress in the waiting . . . for a blood test, an ultrasound, CT scans, biopsies, surgery and the many medical and hospital appointments along the way. This I found leaves me a little “fragile” at times. The way I try to cope with the long times of waiting is to keep busy, especially my mind, I read voraciously, and occupy myself doing (mostly) pastimes I enjoy, like sudoku and gardening in the summer (so much for the housework!).
Happiness is …
sitting on the couch ~ holding our lovely grandson on my lap
~ and looking at the snow capped mountains out the window
~ Life doesn’t get much better than this ! . . . . Liz
The support from my husband, children and friends is incredible – I am so blessed to have such wonderful family in my life – and if you are going through a life-threatening illness the support of at least one caring person is mandatory.
… and have a Check List
Not being a psychologist, I am not sure if many of us think we are not going to die but as my sister says “we all get a turn”. So please have an annual check up – it is a myth that all cancer is fatal but it is true that Life eventually is ! If you have children (no matter your age or state of health) please for their sake, have a annual check up – especially the male of the species who put off some of the more deemed “unpleasant” tests. Being practical you should also have :
- A current will
- An up to date enduring power of attorney
- Term life insurance (especially if you are young) to cover child care and or funeral and estate expenses
- If you have items you would like to leave as a bequest to a specific person, put this in writing, and if valuable consider adding a codicil to your will to avoid misunderstanding
- Or give it away now
- All good advice whether you are ill or not.
I’m not going to worry
Unless the animals start lining up
Two by two for the next space shuttle!
It is so important to look after yourself, rely on others, surround yourself with those you love and who are positive and make you happy. It is also very important I believe to be pro-active where your health is concerned. Our medical professionals and services are incredibly overworked and overextended and this will continue to increase as boomers age.
I swam 10 laps
I ran 3 miles
I biked 7 miles
It’s been a good year!
There is no way to “sum up” a cancer experience which thousands of us share – each of us will respond in our own unique way. I know I am not the same person I was three years ago – my life changed – so did I. Now, more than ever, I love every moment I am given and live every day to it’s fullest, enjoying the good moments. I try to stay “balanced” but don’t always succeed and that’s fine. It’s good to be positive and enjoy the time you have. This too is part of Life’s journey. I hope these words have encouraged and strengthened you if you are going through similar circumstances in your life. Take care.
Looking on the bright side of life will never cause eye strain !
Thoughts & recommendations
- No-one is ever prepared for the doctors words that you have cancer and will require surgery. I can still hear the doctor’s words and remember the total disbelief I felt.
- There are a lot of emotions a person goes through besides disbelief; anger, loneliness, depression, fear and stress. It’s okay to get help.
- Remember illness can be confusing and stressful for your spouse and children as well.
- The time spent with my family on a daily basis for weeks during treatments was / is one of the most special times of my life for which I am most thankful.
- Keep a medical log of all medical visits and treatments, recommendations. Invaluable.
- It’s okay not to want visitors.
- A member of my family was with me every day for emotional support – how special is that.
- As much as possible take one day at a time – easy to say.
- When dealing with cancer there is one constant, and that is change.
- Oftentimes it is impossible to continue following your own schedule especially after surgery and during treatment.
- I am so grateful for the professional care I have received over the years. We are most fortunate to live in a country with such excellent medical care and coverage.
- Keep as busy as you are able and yes, be happy.
D E S I D E R A T A
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
Keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
From the Alt.Usage.English FAQ: “Desiderata” was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945).
This article was started in mid 2011 during ongoing testing for possible recurrent cancer
~ continued through testing and surgery in 2012
~ Diagnosis : A second primary cancer was removed
~ Condition : Stable
“Life is too short for brown bananas”
Links and References :
- Quotes are from Barbara Johnson “Stick a Geranium in your Hat and be Happy”
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally
- Lots of information about metastatic cancer