When Do You Know?

Last updated: April 2020

It dawned on me after attending a very lively, but gloomy conference that we all have an impending cloud following us. Though I’m sure many of us know, there are so many uncertainties with life in general and more so when you are fighting a chronic and/or terminal illness. I try to live peppy with a grain of fight, but this cloud has even me questioning things a bit. When do you know and how do you feel when this fight is ending?

Continuing to fight strong

You’re trying to remain positive during your treatment, mentally you feel good, and physically, you believe you feel great- perhaps better than before; however, those darn labs are still showing negative reads. I know this can play on the mind; in fact, it can make you doubt living and want to totally give up. I’m sure many who are stricken with blood cancer do what they have to do in order to survive, and for many, this includes smiling, agreeing, and being strong warriors.

What happens when that light of strength blows out for a moment? Fighting strong is an inner and deeper light that is in us all, but any hesitancy to continue fighting tends to disturb the power of holding true to our strength.

When treatment isn't working

If treatment isn't working and you’re relapsing all over the place, you may ask, “now what?” How can you look at your family in their eyes and tell them this may be it? Not many of us go into this fight without being willing to try and see how we can fix our prognosis; so we try the treatment offered on the table. When the offerings stop being tasty and there’s few and far between in the selections, rightfully so, those dark thoughts come out to play. Is this then the time we shift the conversation to death? Does it happen when you feel like everyone else (doctors, family, etc.) has given up?

I honestly don’t know when it happens, because though that gloom fell over me thinking about what the future holds, I still don’t have “the feeling."  I'm still hanging onto the word remission and would like to do so for as long as I can.

But when do you know enough is enough?

I suppose the answer to "knowing" is we’ll know when we know. Will we lose humor and energy? Will we see flashbacks of once was before getting sick? This answer is unique to each individual, but I urge you to push forward to live and use that little bit of energy and life you have in you to keep fighting.

I mentioned I lost a parent during this craziness, and when she was fighting, like many of us are, with her bout of cancer (BTW- I hate cancer), she did what she had to do. It’s kind of expected for patients to do so because our fight is not always about us; it’s about our kids, spouses, and people in our lives who need us.

So with this, I say if that gloom is in there, and things look horribly bleak, continue to live your life, not in fear, but with hope, prayer, laughter, adventure, and gratitude because we’re fighting the best we can, in spite of this cloud. The sun is peaking, or trying to at least for a little while longer!

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile....when you feel like it

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