Tuesday, January 19, 2016

An Open Letter to the First Year Late Stage Cancer Patients

Dear Fellow Traveler,

I would like to say welcome, but under the circumstances, it isn't appropriate. So, I'll go with "hi and I'm sorry you're here now."  When it comes to being diagnosed with late stage cancer (stage 4), a compilation of crazy emotions overpower your natural thinking process.  They can range from "oh, I'm going to beat this, it's just a bump in the road" to "let's get my affairs in order, I'm a goner".

Of course, all of these are natural.  The community will rally around you, especially if you're young.  Friends you didn't know you had will come out of the woodworks, posting memories on social media and helping support you anyway possible.  I think it's human nature to want to help.  The younger patients will be bombarded with interview requests and suddenly you're in this spotlight...I mean people know who you are from all over!

You feel so loved and supported that you can't imagine that ever going away.  Not all of these people. Not all of this attention.  But then, you keep living and people begin to feel you're better, home free, "she beat cancer".  You keep beating that prognosis you were originally given and you slowly fade away into a state of limbo.  Not fully living, but not yet dead.  Because you know the eventual outcome, whether it be a year to 20 years.  You know, others may not, but you do know.  You have good days where you want to advocate and take on the world, and you have bad days where you don't want to get out of bed and only want your cats at your pity party you're throwing for yourself.   Believe me, I've been there.  I think this cancer makes us somewhat bipolar.  It's a roller coaster for sure.

The media interviews start to fade as fresh faces of the First Year Late Stage Cancer Patient arrive and you feel no longer useful to your cause.  But you are.  You always will be useful.  You are showing that you are not giving up, you are not backing down, you're not only surviving, but you are LIVING.  After the first year you understand what's important.  You take more breaks from advocating to spend time with your family.  You know...one day there is going to be an end to your earthly body.  So, for now, you LIVE and you show everyone you are LIVING!  We all have this one life.

So, when the cameras fade and you get sad because everyone thinks you're done with cancer but you know you'll never be done, remember this:  You are alive for a reason.  So, don't give up.  Reach out to others, help bring hope.  Share your story so when the newly diagnosed patient is sitting at MD Anderson, continuously crying, and you say "I've been living with stage 4 lung cancer for 15 years", you give them hope, something the person without cancer can't always understand.  1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain; faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love".  You can help someone achieve all of those things with your inspiring story.

And please vote for me every day through January 21st if you have the time.  It would mean so much and  I can reach so many people by just staying in the top 10. http://www.healthline.com/health/best-health-blogs-contest  Just scroll down to "keeping my faith".  You can vote on twitter and facebook every 24 hours.

Finally, thank you for all of your continuous support and prayers for my family, friends and me.  The fact that you're taking the time to read this just fills me with joy beyond belief.  And to those who have gone ahead, I'm sure I'll see you again and know that you are loved and never forgotten.

Here are some pics from us LIVING!

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    My name is Mina and I am writing on behalf of Healthline.com. I found your blog through Healthline’s list of the best lung cancer blogs (http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-lung-cancer-blogs). I love your inspirational post!

    Since your blog has a great following and provides great insight into living with lung cancer, I am wondering if you would be interested in sharing a service with your readers that Healthline are currently offering. Healthline’s Opinion2 gives patients who have been diagnosed with lung cancer access to top oncologists, regardless of where they live. Patients and loved ones have the opportunity to get a crucial second opinion and the emotional comfort that may come with it. Please visit http://www.healthline.com/health/lung-cancer/second-opinion for more information.

    If you are interested in learning more about Healthline’s Opinion2, please feel free to reach out to me at mkwan@healthline.com with any questions.

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