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It’s Never Enough

I just saw my 18-year-old son graduate from high school. Although this seemed impossible when I was first diagnosed in 2013, I was here to watch him walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma. In three months, I will be there to help him move into college across the country, set up his dorm room and leave him to begin a quasi-independent life. As opposed to a number of my friends, who feel sad that their child will be away from home, I am thrilled! I never thought I would be around to raise him to this point in his life and I’m so excited to see him ready for his next steps.

I still want to experience more

I remember thinking to myself when I was first diagnosed that if I would be fortunate enough to see my boys launched into college, I would be satisfied with a life lived well. At the time, that seemed almost like an unattainable goal. Although I still have two years more to go before my younger son graduates from high school, this goal no longer seems so impossible. Despite being close to reaching my long-term goal, however, I am nowhere near ready to be done with living. I still want more — much, much more!

Celebrating my family’s milestones

I’ve written before about milestones in my family’s lives and how important I believe it is to recognize and celebrate these events and achievements. Every time I have reached a milestone, I’m very happy to have made it to that point, but I soon find something new to focus on. It’s never enough. However much I get to experience of important moments in life, I still want to experience more and more! Is that selfish? I don’t really think so. I recognize that I’ve been fortunate with my treatment and am so thankful, but I wish I didn’t always need to think so tentatively about the future.

I’m at the stage in life now when some of my friends are becoming empty nesters and others expect to be in the next few years. My husband and I are in our 50s and it’s not unusual for us to be part of discussions about what will come next — downsizing, retiring, etc. It’s often difficult for me to be part of these conversations about future plans. While I have ideas and things I would like to do as much as anyone else, it’s hard to fully enjoy talking about plans without wondering if I’ll still be around. It’s not really okay in social settings to just throw “I hope to be alive” into these conversations — talk about a downer!

Looking to the future

I would like to see my boys graduate college, start first jobs, and get married. I would like to meet my grandchildren one day. I would also like to retire somewhere with my husband and enjoy the perks of being an empty nester with no fixed schedule at some point. Will these things happen? I don’t know. I hope so, but right now all of these seem like long-term goals way too far away to even be possible. I’ll continue with hope, though, and try to remember that high school graduation once felt the same way.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • jmbklj
    3 months ago

    Ivy, you are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story. We are at exactly 1 year since my husband’s stage 4 nsclc diagnosis, when we were told he would have 3-4 months without treatment and 1 year with treatment. So far tumors are shrinking or stable.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    3 months ago

    @jmbklj Great things are moving smoothly after a 1 year of treatment. Wishing you and your husband the best on this journey. Best!

  • jhaack
    4 months ago

    Ivy thank you for sharing your journey. As I read your story it brought back so many memories and feelings that I share with you.
    When I was diagnosed in April of ‘15 with stage 4 NSCLC I assumed if lucky I might have 6 months. My goal at the time was to live long enough to see my 4th grandson born in October of ‘15.
    I feel blessed to live when I do with the advancements in medicine.
    Certainly not enough but so much more than I could have ever expected. As a result of breakthrough treatments and the good fortune of having a wonderful medical team spread across the US I find myself still here after some 4 1/2 years!
    Like yourself long range planning is no longer in my vocabulary! At this point my planning is essentially scan to scan. If I get a stable report my wife and I are off for whatever new adventure that’s been our dream!
    Maybe I should have always lived this way. Cherishing ever day, taking nothing for granted and loving on my family & friends.
    Again thanks for sharing.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    3 months ago

    @jhaacj Congrats on your 4 1/2 years and many more! Keep those new adventures coming. Best!

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    4 months ago

    You can only move forward and do. The future is attainable with a positive mind that you can, you will, you are. Cheers to the future and all it’s uncertainties. Best!

  • Elizabeth
    4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can not tell you how this gives me hope. I too am in my 50s. Two boys a wonderful husband and want to be part of the future to share with them. Big scan for me on Tuesday which will tell me if I am stable stage 4 nsclc

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    4 months ago

    @elizabeth wishing you a successful scan with positive developments. Big hug!

  • arcee980
    4 months ago

    Ivy, loved what you wrote. How true – it’s never enough! Every one of us understands how you feel and my heartfelt wishes are that you get to hold your grandchildren (but not too soon) after seeing more graduations, etc.!! Love you.

  • Alisa moderator
    4 months ago

    Congratulations, Ivy and family!!!! And yes, I want more (experiences) too!!!!! And we will get them 🙂

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