This might sound like a stupid question. However, it occurred to me this week that it isn’t. I have found that having non-Hodgkin follicular lymphoma changed my perception of life events. I had a bad day yesterday. My bad day began with accidentally setting off my house alarm as I watered my ferns. It became progressively worse as I gave the incorrect code to the alarm operator when she called. The police were on their way. I finally resolved that issue only to incorrectly type my password to my online banking account and was locked out of the account. Could this day get any worse? I found myself in a bad mood. It seemed like everything I did was going wrong. Poor me.
I then began to think how lucky I am, in remission, no longer receiving chemotherapy. I can enjoy each day as a gift. Yes, I have cancer but am feeling well, no longer fatigued. Although I am now more in control of my life, there are still challenges with my cancer. I make my required follow-up visits to my oncologist and experience scanxiety every April as I prepare for the annual CT scan. My immune system has been affected by the cancer and chemotherapy, so I take precautions to avoid crowds, take vitamin C, and schedule reflexology sessions to stay healthy.
Remembering to appreciate life
The positive effects of being a cancer survivor have made me appreciate all the good things in my life. The love of my family and friends has given me strength. I still worry and am fearful of recurrence, but I am honest and recognize my fears. I surround myself with positive people who will listen and be nonjudgmental. I also do not miss any opportunity to spend time and make memories with my granddaughter. I now appreciate the little things in life that I had overlooked in the past, such as beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the sound of chirping birds and the calming effects of music. I am blessed to be able to spend time at the shore listening to the calming ocean sounds.
I am reevaluating the important things in my life. Yes, I am a cancer survivor, but cancer will not define me. My priorities are now a reality. I have always been a planner. Cancer has given me permission to live my dreams now and not procrastinate.
My advice to my fellow cancer survivors is to live each moment, do not put off things that you would like to do or enjoy. Yes, cancer can be devastating but it can also be a wake -up call to live.