Aging Gracefully

It’s a fact of life that we all age. We are always moving forward because we simply cannot go backward. Before you know it you are 30! When one is given a lung cancer diagnosis it comes with some challenges regarding aging. I needed to talk about whether or not I wanted to start a family eventually, worrying about aches and pains, and hitting life’s milestones.

Talking about family planning

As a young adult with cancer, we talked about egg preservation. At the beginning of my diagnosis, I sat down with a doctor and we discussed all of my options for future family planning. I was given a few options, but none of the choices fit my cancer timeline (can we start treatment yesterday?!). So we scratched the idea of egg preservation and went straight into me taking a TKI that didn’t work so then I started chemotherapy, Cisplatin and Alimta.

My thought process at the time was that if I had lung cancer why in the world would I want to bring a child into this world knowing that it may lose its mother. My thoughts on this have not changed even though I would love to have a family of my own. The chemotherapy aged my ovaries by about 8 years, so I will more than likely go into early menopause. I took a fertility test recently that confirmed this.

Is it aging or cancer progression?

Is my cancer progressing? I have this weird pain in my back. Am I breathing funny? Is it because I am getting older or is my cancer progressing? These are the types of questions that I ask myself daily. Every small ache and pain is looked at under a figurative microscope because of the “what if”. What if my cancer is growing again in my lung or what if my cancer is now in my brain or now in my liver?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am a person that is aging and some of these things will happen naturally to my body.

Calming my thoughts

I think that taking a step back and breathing is the first thing that helps in this situation. It may sound crazy but meditating on this idea can bring clarity to the situation. If the pain still does not get better though always contact your doctor!

Looking ahead to each of life’s milestones is important. I hope to see my 40th birthday and I hope to see my niece and nephews grow up. I want to see all of the graduations from kindergarten to high school to college. For myself, though, I hope to one day retire!

Once I turned 35 my knees started to hurt when I got up or if I was sitting for too long. I knew that this was an age thing and not a cancer thing. I celebrated 7 years post lung cancer diagnosis in April 2021. It has taken me some time to get where I am, but I do not worry or stress my everyday aches and pains (as much) as I used to.

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