Man with flowers growing from his body receiving water from a watering can

Cancer or Not, Bloom Where You're Planted!

Do you remember the Friends television show when Chandler's job transferred him to Tulsa, Oklahoma? The characters acted like their friend was going to Siberia. I am a Tulsa native and laughed because I know Tulsa is not New York City. (I never understood how the characters could afford those expensive apartments.) However, I have some ideas for the characters moving to Tulsa. I'm telling you. Those writers should have called me!

Chandler already had his job, so his wife Monica needed work. We have a lovely Utica Square shopping center with upscale restaurants in Tulsa. Since Monica was a chef, she could open her restaurant there. But, of course, she would need help from her gal pals, Rachel and Phoebe. Can't you see those three getting into all kinds of comical moments starting a restaurant?

Monica's brother Ross could teach in the science department of Tulsa University. It would have been a significant change for the characters, but they would have survived if not thrived. They could have bloomed where they were planted. So why didn't those writers call me?

No one wants to be on the cancer train.

We don't want to be where we are either as blood cancer patients. What to do? One day you're working your job, taking care of your life, and you find out that you have blood cancer. No one wants to ride the cancer train.

I remember driving home after receiving my myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) diagnosis, thinking they might have made a mistake in the lab. However, I  recently retired, so I thought I would start getting more sleep. After I rest up, I will get a second opinion. Perhaps the second bone marrow biopsy will show only anemia.

Well, it didn't.

Facing the facts

  1. A cancer diagnosis is not good news, but it is not always a death sentence. Sometimes people die with blood cancer, not because of it.
  2. We have to make ourselves a priority. Get the rest we need. Learn to say no to people who ask too much of us. I had a friend who would scoff if I said I didn't have the energy to go on her outing. What is she going to do? Not like me? My health is more important.
  3. Keep busy at your own pace. We all have days when we don't feel like doing much. For example, you might say, "I should have finished cleaning the house today." But, don't should on yourself. Instead, on a low-energy day, pick a chore and be proud you got something done.
  4. Keep in touch with friends and keep making new ones. Cancer can be very isolating. Meeting friends for lunch or visiting on the phone gives us something to look forward to.
  5. Develop new interests. It's easy to be preoccupied with your diagnosis, but we need subjects to keep our minds sharp and lift our spirits. Volunteering for Meals on Wheels keeps me from overfocusing on my MDS. Their motto is, "When you do good, you feel good!"

Roll with the punches and bloom where you're planted

As a college freshman, a family friend told me, "You have to roll with the punches!" Unfortunately, real life is not like a television show. Try as we might, we can't write our endings. So yes, we must roll with the punches and bloom where we are planted. Best of luck to you!

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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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