A Decade with Lung Cancer: Reflecting on Life's Twists and Turns
Last updated: September 2023
In April 2014, my life took an unexpected turn when I received a lung cancer diagnosis. As I approach my ten-year cancer anniversary, I find myself reflecting on the roller coaster ride that has become my life.
While most people can relate to the ups and downs of life, I want to share how lung cancer has influenced some of my most significant life decisions.
My post-diagnosis career path
Before my diagnosis, I was on a career path that I had meticulously planned. I had completed my master's degree in business administration and was working in a business development role.
While I initially enjoyed my job, my cancer diagnosis threw me for a loop. Working became a daily struggle, and I had to scale back to part-time work just to cope with the treatment and its side effects.
Over time, I realized that my current job was not the best fit for me, and I needed a change. My diagnosis had altered my perspective on life, and I desired a career that aligned more closely with my passions and priorities. After a lot of soul-searching, I decided to take a leap and explore new opportunities.
It wasn't easy, but I eventually found a full-time position at a different company. I've been with this new organization for four years now, and it's been a refreshing change.
I genuinely enjoy the work I do, and the manageable workload ensures that I rarely feel stressed. My cancer journey, in a way, pushed me to pursue a more fulfilling career path.
Living life to the fullest
As I entered my ninth year post-diagnosis, I realized that my long-term dreams had evolved along the way. I began saving diligently into a 401(k) with the understanding that I might not be able to enjoy the fruits of that labor.
My husband and I moved into our own home with the intention of it being our forever house. However, life had other plans, and we decided to search for a small plot of land to build on. It's a dream we're working toward, and if we can make it happen, it will truly be a dream come true.
Living with lung cancer has taught me the importance of cherishing each day and finding joy in the little things. I no longer feel guilty for indulging in a bagel in the morning or treating myself to an iced coffee while running errands. My daily routine revolves around activities that make me happy, from spending time with loved ones to exploring new places and savoring delicious foods.
Travel has become a passion of mine, and I seize every opportunity to experience new cultures and cuisines. Whether it's a weekend getaway or a grand adventure, I've come to appreciate the richness that travel adds to my life. It's a reminder that a beautiful world is out there waiting to be explored, and I refuse to let my diagnosis hold me back from those experiences.
A decade of resilience
My almost ten-year journey with lung cancer has been a roller coaster ride filled with unexpected twists and turns. While the initial diagnosis was daunting, it has ultimately reshaped my life in profound ways. I've found a more fulfilling career, adjusted my long-term dreams, and learned to embrace happiness in the everyday.
As I look back on this decade, I am grateful for the lessons learned and the resilience that has grown within me. Lung cancer may be a part of my story, but it does not define who I am or what I can achieve. Here's to the next chapter, wherever it may lead.
What healthy habits do you use to improve the quality of your life?