While You Have Life, Live
Last updated: April 2020
I am sitting on a plane that will take me from Tel Aviv, Israel to Warsaw, Poland with the ultimate destination for today, New York City. I have been in Israel for the past seven days and what an experience it has been!
I had never traveled internationally before so everything about this trip has been a new experience, including traveling such a long distance and for this long a time. Let me tell you, I have learned a lot!
Lessons from travel
First of all, I learned that overpacking is a big mistake! Lugging luggage across multiple airline terminals is tiring and can be challenging. I didn't need a lot of what I brought so my sore back is for naught!
I learned that getting to JFK in New York City many hours before flight time is a mistake, especially when you have to claim your checked bag and can't recheck it for many hours. Dragging a backpack, a big suitcase, and an overloaded purse around a crowded terminal isn't easy for a 65-year-old lung cancer patient! Truthfully, I don't think it would have been easy for someone without lung cancer either!
Don't let lung cancer get in the way
But, I learned something else that may be even more important. I have stage IV lung cancer. I have been in treatment for over six years. In fact, I had a scan and a treatment just a couple of days before I embarked on this adventure. And guess what? I did it!
We climbed up and down lots of stairs as we visited historic sites all across Israel. We climbed hills at a fast pace. We walked lots of miles, sometimes in pouring down rain. The brand new Skechers I bought for the trip look worn out after just a week of sightseeing.
Despite my worrying...
I worried a bit. I have advanced COPD and stage IV lung cancer. I wondered if I would be able to keep up or if I would be so exhausted by the end of the tour that I would want nothing more than a warm bed and soft pillow. I needn’t have worried. I feel wonderful as this experience ends.
I don't only feel well physically, I feel renewed emotionally. Sometimes, the constant trials and tribulations of recurrent treatments start to wear a person down. Worse, my only son died just a few short months ago. Getting away from it all for a brief period of time has been a real blessing for me.
I have long believed that I was doing well for an aging lung cancer survivor, and this trip reconfirmed it. I did it! I enjoyed it! I would do it again in a New York minute!
Lung cancer doesn't have to limit you
What I hope you take away from this little expose is: Lung cancer doesn't have to limit you. Lung cancer does not have to control your thoughts or your life. If you can, let go of the worry and live the life you’ve been given.
It almost assuredly will not be the life you planned. Cancer may limit what you are able to do compared to life before cancer. Nevertheless, as long as you have breath, try to live. Life is too short for almost all of us.
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