Great article on living with serious illness

This article about a young cancer survivor is incredibly insightful and I think offers a lot of great advice for anyone living with health challenges.

"You think of health as binary: You're either sick or well, whole or broken. I think that kind of binary thinking is flawed," Jaouad says. "Most of us live somewhere in the middle. And so not striving for some perfect state of wellness is liberating. And learning to make a home in the wilderness of that in-between place was what actually allowed me to begin that process of healing and moving forward."

Off to download her book...


Thanks Tracey

by IAN MC - 2021-04-14 14:01:10

I found the link to be both thought-provoking and inspirational ,  especially as I have a good friend who is currently struggling with the final stages of pancreatic cancer.

Problems exaggerated by PM recipients , here in the PM club, are minor in comparison !

I'm sure it has been reported around the world that Prince Philip , the husband of our Queen , recently died.

Apparently  his favourite phrase was " Just get on with it ! "

I never say it , but I often think it when I read some of the posts on here ..... other people have problems which make our's seem quite trivial .



by Tracey_E - 2021-04-14 15:15:01

Ian, I think part of why I've always been a bit blase about my heart problems and accepted the pacer so readily is the same year I got my first pacer, two women my age (mid 20's at that point) in my circle of friends were diagnosed with cancer. One didn't make it, left two young sons behind. The other struggled for years, had a bone marrow transplant. I lost touch with her so not sure if she remained in remission. I watched what both of them went through, and a pacer is nothing in comparison. Someone else always has it worse. 

"Let it gooooooo" is one of my favorites, even if the song is awful lol. 

I have been so lucky to have survived too

by Gemita - 2021-04-14 16:26:07

Oh I love these inspirational stories.  They keep me going sometimes.  Thank you Tracey for sharing. It does put everything into perspective when we start to feel down and sorry for ourselves.  

Having been through cancer treatment over many years and then waiting anxiously for test results under my consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital, is a distant memory now.  Having had a supporting family and friends at that time made all the difference too but I felt very sad for those who were alone during their treatment.

Two young people died who I became friendly with. One young lady with breast cancer who had two young children (twins) was so full of enthusiasm telling me she was going to beat her disease, that she would never leave her children, but three months later I heard she had lost the battle.  A young man with pancreatic cancer also lost his life after bravely fighting for months.  It is a cruel disease and mental strength is vital to help support any gruelling physical treatment.  

Against all the odds, all the surgeries, (since chemo/radiotherapy at the time was not effective) I was so very lucky to have overcome a poor prognosis at the start of my journey with my rapidly growing/spreading metastatic melanoma.  It seemed to get everywhere (from left upper arm - original site - to right knee, right toe and other places too numerous to mention) and just when I thought I was cured it turned up in my urine, blood stream, lymphatic system and positive lymph glands were cleared in several areas. 

I think when we can accept the worse that might happen and survive it, there is nothing more to fear and everything to live for.  I think too that in adversity we learn so much more about ourselves.  We learn to accept our strengths, our weaknesses and to pace ourselves when energy levels are low.  We learn to live in the moment, to enjoy the moment.   We learn who our true friends are, what is important in our life and what to leave behind.  Nothing focuses the mind as much as the fear that this could be our last day.  But to come out of the darkness was like a veil being lifted, the light shining through to prepare me for a new life, with renewed energy, hope and better health. 

Whatever my heart throws at me Tracey, I feel I have the experience to tame it, without fear and this helps me immensely to cope during symptomatic periods.  I hope everyone here gets some strength from reading your inspirational message.  We need more of these posts on this forum to keep our spirits up

When Breath Becomes Air

by crustyg - 2021-04-14 16:30:59

Our narrator describes his frustration that his oncologist refuses to give him, a medical colleague, a prognosis.  What to do with his life?  Finish his neurosurgery training or just change direction (==give up).

After some time and further thought he realises that he's in exactly the same state as the rest of us: we all know that we're going to die, we just don't know *when*.

So he gets on with Living.

The same theme is briefly covered towards the end of the Pixar animation, Soul.

And I agree with both of you: my little problems are gnat-bites compared to some.  Recently had a long chat with a friend and ex-colleague who left our business about 6years ago.  Turns out that he'd had, and survived, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.  Death sentence back in the 20th Century, but he'd had a successful graft.  Amazing.

Count me as having a trivial issue.

by AgentX86 - 2021-04-14 22:22:21

I knew when I had my CABG that I would feel much better on the other side and be able to lead a more normal, if not completely normal, life after.  I knew the same thing when I had my PM impant.  Both were inconvieninces to a different degree, obviously.  I was right and I didn't even know how right I was.

Yes, most of us have absolutely trivial problems compared to others.  One thing I'm certain of, though.  Life is going to kill me.  It's better to do a good job of it until.  That said, there is no way that I can even relate to cancer.

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