a room with a sunrise out the window, and an alarm clock with swirls emanating from it

My Cancer Was a Wake Up Call

While I enjoyed a terrific life before my blood cancer diagnosis, I have now realized that some additional positive things have become part of my daily life as a cancer survivor.

Before my cancer journey, I would constantly keep busy, overdoing everything, focusing on minutia, being impatient, and not appreciating all that I had.

Every moment counts

Today, I have learned that every moment counts. My mantra has become faith, family, and friends. These are the most important influences in my life and the things I hold most dear.

Using my faith to help deal with anxiety

My faith provided support through my diagnosis and treatment. Yes, I had faith prior to my illness but I had no idea that my beliefs and prayers could lessen my fears and anxiety and even give me hope.

Inspired by the support of my family and friends

My family has always been a part of my life but the love and caring of my family was an inspiration and motivation to fight this terrible disease.

The frequent phone calls, emails, and cards from friends became a highlight of my day. I would look forward to these contacts as they made me smile and appreciate such wonderful friends.

Finding value in giving back

Today, I recognize the importance of “giving back” as a volunteer providing support to other cancer survivors. As a First Connection volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I speak to newly diagnosed cancer patients, listening, and answering any questions as a fellow cancer patient who may have experienced similar challenges.

A focus on making memories

Making memories has become a priority in my life. I never miss an opportunity to spend time with my granddaughter. We are focused on establishing family traditions which has included enjoying holidays and vacations together.

Appreciating every moment

I am more appreciative of life’s every moment as each day is a gift. The incapacitating fatigue that I experienced as a side effect of chemotherapy, reminds me to live in the now. I recognize the simple things that bring me joy: the sun shining, beautiful sunsets, and the sounds of the ocean.

Focusing on the big picture

Letting go of negative thoughts and trying to make mental lists of things that make me happy lessens my worry. I silently recite them in moments of fear and anxiety.

Focusing on the BIG Picture has become a reality. This includes praying for good results of the annual CT scan, the hugs and kisses of my granddaughter, visits with my son, and time spent with my husband and best friend as we enjoy every moment of retirement.

I plan to continue to feel blessed, appreciative, and more patient as I enjoy my life as a cancer survivor.

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