My 8th Year Cancerversary

I had my 8th-year cancerversary this past June, and it was a significant milestone. For the past five years that my lung cancer has been stable, I kept reflecting on my cancer journey, including my lung cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, and documented in a blog and on Facebook. Now, I want to look at the future.

Can I look forward to the future?

Since I got lung cancer, I often heard “live for today.” I understand such advice means good, and it gives me a feeling of the urgency of living because death is approaching due to my cancer diagnosis. It also defers me from looking forward to tomorrow since it's often thought there is no future for cancer patients.

However, I need to look forward to the future. I’ve “lived for today” for eight years but don’t feel right without planning for the future.

Even if I can’t predict tomorrow or my wish doesn’t come true, so what? Therefore, I’ll look forward to the future, not too long though.

I found my place for research advocacy

I have advocated for lung cancer for five years, from being a patient advocate to a patient research advocate. Being a patient advocate gave me a general view of the landscape of cancer, like the diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship of cancer patients who are suffering from cancer.

Thriving while being a cancer research advocate makes me aware of the work of researchers, doctors, and policymakers, which is incredibly inspiring. With my academic background and great interest in cancer research, I finally found my place: to be a patient research advocate. There are a few works in the next several years.

Starting this year, I’m on the Cancer Grand Challenge (CGC) Advocacy Panel, a global funding initiative founded by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the USA. The CGC Advocacy Panel set ambitious challenges, providing global teams with £20M for each team to come together and think differently, aiming to make progress against cancer the world urgently needs. I’m very honored with 11 UK, US, Canada, Italy, and Germany advocates to bring our unique perspective to the initiative.

Also, starting this year, I’m formally involved in a cancer project funded by the Canadian Cancer Society for $7M and five years. I will lead the six-patient-partner team to be involved at the scientific, ethical, and human levels.

I finally found my place as a patient research advocate, and in the next several years, I’m determined to keep doing them.

Travel is important to me

Travel has become more and more important for me. Besides our traveling, I’ll take every chance to go sightseeing after attending cancer conferences, committee meetings, and summits.

We go to museums, art galleries, concerts of classical music and cruises, and different cuisines. It’s so important to experience different cultures in the world.

The more places I go and the more beauty I see, the more grateful I am.

I make video clips and blogs to keep advocating

I’ve written a blog about my cancer journey since 2019. It’s an excellent way to reflect on myself in highs or lows, and I’ll keep doing it.

I recently started making video clips to record my cancer journey. The purpose is for both types of people who experience or are never affected by cancer. I’m exploring augmenting audio-video techniques into my cancer advocacy. It’s extremely exciting!

Whenever I look at the future, a tiny noise does repeat in my head, “What if my cancer flare-up?” “Is it all an illusion?” I don’t know the answer, but looking at the future gives me great pleasure and confidence. Also, there is a chance that I won’t die soon, like now. I’ve survived for eight years and am still going.

The bottom line is to enjoy life whenever I can, and we must strive for cancer research.

More research = more treatment = longer survival!

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