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Blood Cancer … Defusing the Impact

It is not easy to deal with a blood cancer diagnosis or the many treatments that follow.  And yes, it is so easy in the middle of treatment to quietly recall the many negative feelings in the past and how they will take over your future. It is like saying “well this is the way life is for me now and it is  how it’s going to be for the rest of my life.”  

Hard to be optimistic when overwhelmed

It is always difficult to be optimistic about the future when you are overwhelmed by the many negative things that have happened along the way or when you have held on to a pessimistic view of life for months or years.

Most likely you, like me, do not see yourself as a proactive person especially when you are experiencing the aftereffects of surgery, chemo, or radiation. As your body heals and you are fatigued and need to rest, it is easy to see yourself as lazy. Perhaps you have resigned yourself to feeling that as a cancer patient you do not deserve happiness or success in life. Perhaps you see making changes in your life as something that is too difficult or uncomfortable, most likely because you have lived in a personal comfort zone for months or years.

Changing my outlook

After battling cancer multiple times, I was in that mental state place, and it was not fun. Yet by taking a few of the following steps I slowly changed my outlook on how I want to live with the time I have left. Much to my surprise I was able to make some massive changes in my life that still amaze me. More about that later in this article.

Deep down I knew making some positive changes in my world was possible and  one day I decided to take  a small step by doing  something positive and new. Typically, I would go on a bike ride for exercise. That day I did a 3-to-5-minute jog. It was at a slow pace but  the fresh air felt great and refreshing.

Focusing on the positives

From that day  I stopped focusing on all the things that could go wrong in my life like how things would go wrong on my next appointment etc. I decided to a break my negative patterns and focus on the many things that could go right. My new dating life was not something to worry about once I realized it could lead to some positive outcomes over time.

To reinforce things a bit further I began a daily practice of writing down 1 but not more than 3 things I could appreciate about myself that day. So instead of being  critical about myself I found the positives.Soon it became a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and slowly building on what I had accomplish. In time I began to imagine a future that looked less and less like my past.

Making a change

So where am I today after 4 bouts of cancer and  covid pneumonia and the death of a spouse? I decided to make a move out of state to be closer to family. I had two choices Minnesota or Virginia. At age 80 and with winter temps in Minnesota dropping to 30 below zero and snow I opted to focus on the latter. On a whim and purely by chance I stumbled on a custom home builder in VA. After touring a demo home I put down a deposit. When I returned to CT I found myself in a state of shock and yet I was also excited. My concerns for selling my home in Connecticut  vanished after it sold in a day. I put my things  in storage and moved out and lived with a friend in CT for 5 months as my new place was being built.

Certainly  things were changing. I had both a strange feeling of being disconnected and yet looking to a new future. I then moved to my new Virginia neighborhood not knowing a single person. In the first 2 weeks I was invited to play golf, join the HOA board, and found some promising new friends and widows who had also experienced the loss of a spouse. I know my aggressive life changes may not be for everyone. The purpose of this story is to offer hope that life does not end with a cancer diagnosis; that said it is  up to each one of us to actually look for a brighter future.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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