Do I Think About Having Lung Cancer Every Day?
A good friend of mine asked me a little while ago if I think about the fact that I have lung cancer every day. I had to stop for a minute in order to figure out my answer to this question.
Not at the front of my mind
I finally decided that while I DO think about lung cancer every day, I don’t think about actually having lung cancer myself every day. That sounds strange, right? Well, I am very involved in advocacy work, so rarely a day goes by when I don’t have a conference call, email or text message related to some aspect of lung cancer.
However, I don’t wake up every morning thinking about the fact that I have lung cancer anymore. I certainly did when I was first diagnosed! But as the years have passed, I have somehow managed to get used to the fact that my own personal lung cancer situation is part of my life and will always be part of my life, but isn’t always my biggest concern every day.
Fitting cancer into my to-do list
It definitely helps that I feel well, and have for the majority of my almost five years living with lung cancer to date. But the concerns of daily life living with a husband, two teenage boys, and most recently, a 5-year old shih-tzu dog, often take priority. I have many other things to think/worry about — Where are the boys? Are they out past curfew? Are they doing their homework? Is my older son working on his college applications? Does the dog need to be walked? Do I have to cook dinner tonight? The list goes on!
Worry and scanxiety
That isn’t to say that I never think about or worry about having lung cancer. I often have fleeting thoughts, especially when people mention an event in the future, wondering if I will still be around for it. I also cannot help thinking about my own fate whenever a member of the lung cancer community passes away. These fleeting thoughts become more and more common as I approach a scan date, finally turning into full fledged scanxiety a few days prior to my quarterly scans. That’s when I start to worry the most about my scans showing progression.
However, on a day-to-day basis, I have managed to put my lung cancer in its place as part of my life, but not the most important part. I know not everyone loves using the term “survivor” and I’ve written about this in the past, but I truly feel like I am a survivor of lung cancer because I am able to continue with my life while living with lung cancer.
Do you participate in awareness month activities?