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Staying Present

Staying Present

It can be a difficult task. Staying present means giving your full attention to what you are doing or experiencing at that exact moment. This includes all your thoughts and all your feelings. I try to practice this daily, but, like I said, it can be difficult.

Caught up in the “what-ifs”

It’s easy to get caught up in the what-ifs. These are thoughts or fears about our future – which can bring unwanted anxiety. Lately I’ve been focusing too much on my future treatment options. There are two possibilities, neither of which am I very excited about, but I’m hopeful. We’re always looking ahead to have a general idea of the direction I will go, but nothing is certain. There are too many variables to set anything in stone and although I’m currently on an effective treatment, the need to change can happen any time. As a Type-A personality, and a chronic planner, this is not a comfortable place for me. In fact, I don’t like it one bit.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is: what comes after these two drugs? First of all, I pray I have the opportunity to benefit from both of these drugs. These targeted therapies can help me live many more years and at 7 years since my diagnosis I am extremely grateful to be here. But after these two, there aren’t any new drugs in the works (that we know of) for ROS1 – my type of lung cancer. Then what?

Taking it day by day

I try to take it day by day and not worry about this now, but I do. Some days I feel sad, I don’t get dressed, I eat a lot, and watch TV. Sometimes that’s ok because I need to be alone. Other days I enjoy sitting in the sunshine, walking my dogs, and being with family. This journey is a never-ending roller coaster of emotions. Our minds are so powerful. What goes on in our heads – our fears, our joys, our gratitude – can have a direct impact on our physical being.

I found some interesting articles about how emotions and stress affect us physically. Cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that laughing can reduce the risk of a heart attack by curbing unwanted stress.1 According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.”2 Exercise is key for me.

Choosing not to worry

So many things feel out of my control, but staying present not only reduces my anxiety, it helps me feel more in control of my emotions. When I find myself worrying about my future, I take a few deep breaths and let it go. Sometimes I have to do this multiple times a day – it’s definitely a work in progress.

I research and educate myself so I know what my treatment options are when the time comes. But I’m not making any changes today. So, for today…I’m choosing not to worry about it. Today, I’m choosing joy and happiness and I’m focusing on this very moment.

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.

  1. Cleveland Clinic. 3 Ways That Laughter Can Give You a Healthier Heart. Accessed on November 28, 2018.
  2. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Physical Activity Reduces Stress. Accessed on November 28, 2018.


  3. Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    11 months ago

    Lysa, written beautifully… as much as those worries can be so overwhelming; it’s important to take a break from worrying about it. Living in the moment and taking it day by day, is the best approach.

  4. Lysa Buonanno moderator author
    11 months ago

    Thank you

  5. jdpatraw
    11 months ago

    Great article. Very positive. You are an inspiration to me!!

  6. Lysa Buonanno moderator author
    11 months ago

    Thank you so much

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