Time and Lung Cancer
When I was diagnosed with lung cancer it felt like time stopped and froze. I was 30 years old and just told that I had stage 3b lung cancer. Waiting for the next test or speaking with the doctor seemed to take forever. My life felt like it was halted and I would have to start rebuilding once I felt better to do so.
My diagnosis news came fast
In the beginning, I waited one week for an official cancer diagnosis. Looking back and speaking to others in the lung cancer community I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. My diagnosis was not dragged on but rather came quickly. It was a Friday when the on-call oncologist told me that I had cancer so he told me to go home for the weekend and call his office next week. That was the first idea that we were in a “hurry up and wait” kind of situation. I called his office and was given the run-around, so we sought out other care which added to the wait time. Luckily, my oncologist in Chicago understood our anxiousness and scheduled me to see her right away, within a few days. She got all the tests, including a bronchoscopy, chest CT and brain MRI, that I needed to be done very quickly but we still waited. We waited in the seating area to be called back and we waited for results.
Once I was deep into this disease, I found myself in a depressed sort of feeling. I remember some of my worst days counting the time until I could go to bed. I was either in pain or anxious. I was on a lot of pain medications, as well as other medications to fight some of the side effects of the chemotherapy. I had taken some time off of work, so I did not have that to fall back on.
Living life from scan-to-scan
As cancer patients, we spend our lives in 3 months, 6 months, or sometimes 1-year increments. I have been getting my CT scans every 3 months and just graduated every 4 months. There is a bit of relief when you get good news and you can say to your oncologist “ok, see you in 3 months!” It is a different sort of feeling when the news isn’t so good and then you have to go in for more tests and more appointments.
Rediscovering myself and my life
As I mentioned, I feel like my life froze at 30. I had a few years where things seemed like they would never happen for me. I had friends getting married, having kids, getting promotions, and all sorts of life-changing situations and I was dealing with cancer. It took a solid six years for my life to start progressing again. I got married, we bought a house, I landed a full-time job that I really like and we have fur babies.
Now that I am back to work and living a semi-normal life in my late 30’s I feel like there are not enough hours in the day. I am working on learning new skills and bettering myself.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?