Dictionary.com defines a silver lining as "a sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation; a bright prospect". What does a silver lining mean to you? To me, I have only recently begun to find my silver linings and now I see them so much more often! A silver lining to me means that in this demanding life that we live fighting lung cancer, that even in the smallest of our moments, there will be a negative or bad moment and in that moment, there is always something positive. Some may say I'm crazy - "how do you get a silver lining out of having to get chemotherapy every 3 weeks?" Here's a thought, that chemotherapy may bring friends you haven't seen in a while to your chemo session to keep you company! Not only did you not have to plan the visit (your hospital did this for you), you have a place to meet (hospital), where no one had to decide what location and you didn't have to go anywhere except the place you had to go to!
Silver Linings Can Be Anywhere!
I had radiation last fall/winter to my pelvis. I was told it would be easy, low dose and wouldn't have many side effects. So I went in with my Superwoman coat on ready to conquer the world on my lunch breaks at work and then went back to work after my radiation session. The first 3 days were okay, after that, my fatigue hit hard and I had to start taking off the rest of the day after radiation. The silver lining was that I could pick my daughter up from school right after radiation and then go home to rest. Quality time with my teenage daughter is so important so if there was a silver lining in having this additional treatment, then time with my daughter is the answer. A more personal silver lining of my radiation treatment is that it came at the right time to the right place, I didn't have to worry about shaving or having to deal with ensuring my bikini line was in check!
Finding Something Positive in the Negative
I often see others post about side effects of their treatment, worries, and overall concerns about how their life is not normal like it was pre-cancer. I try to find something in everything that bothers me that brings out a bright aspect of my life. I have been on targeted therapy since I was diagnosed, along with that treatment came a "rash" of side effects and I mean that literally, a rash, thinning hair, stomach issues, an increase in unwanted facial hair and nausea. At the time it was all happening I was miserable, not that I can look back on it, I definitely found some silver linings in it all. My targeted therapy increased the hair growth on my face, this included my eyebrows, eyelashes, and mustache. My eyelashes are now so long, full and gorgeous that I often get asked by strangers if they are my real eyelashes! My hair thinned about one-third over three months, but the silver lining was that I still had hair. I had thick, frizzy hair pre-cancer, now it is thinner, and straighter and less frizzy. Not everyone is going to find silver linings in everything, there are definitely days where I can't even seem to find one, but it doesn't discourage me as much anymore.
Life throws everything at you in your darkest times. The way you handle the darkness is the only way you will be able to come out and see the light. My silver linings are just that, my way of escaping the darkness, one step at a time. We may not always want to find them, some days, I would just rather curl up on the couch and cry it out, but most other days, it feels healthier to see the brightness shining on a gloomy day.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?