Finding My Feet While Traversing Along A Rocky Path
Last updated: December 2022
Oncologists fight cancer for a living; it is a clear journey that they choose to be on. However, patients living with lung cancer must face this journey - whether they like it or not.
The path of living with lung cancer
This path we traverse throughout our journeys can be smooth or rocky. Statistically, lung cancer can hit any family, in any home, at any time. It can affect anyone who has lungs. My family has no history of cancer, but it still hit me. Still, I can make my journey less stressful, so it's better to traverse.
Being a trooper
Accepting the side effects
At the top of my list of side effects are hair thinning, my body gaining weight, and anemia. For my thinning hair, I minimize shampooing and use hair oil and herbal shampoo when I wash my hair. I work with my anemia by topping meals with iron supplements and eating a high-iron diet. The weight gain is still something I'm struggling with quite a bit.
Staying flexible with my appointments
Another way I'm a trooper is when I complete my surveillance appointments painstakingly, without whining. There are also times when set appointments get changed. Being on top of things does not create more negative emotions.
Living with any cancer, we long for support from our loved ones, friends, co-workers, co-patient, or partners. Their support strengthens us to carry on, despite the illness we are facing. We hope that each day, we can feel their love and concern for us. Sometimes when things get rough, it's easy to forget the people around us who genuinely care and love us. Giving simple words of appreciation and genuine hugs to our supporters can remind them that their presence matters.
Social media connects us all
Social media and online meetings have the power to shrink the physical distance and time difference. Meeting online anytime and anywhere is so easy. We can mourn and send heartfelt messages to each other.
Forget not the departed
In the lung cancer world, support groups lose members a lot. But one thing will remain: the remembrance of amazing patients, survivors, and advocates who have touched our lives. I have witnessed many people living with lung cancer pouring their time and commitment into making a difference in the lung cancer community. They were great leaders - advocating biomarker testing, clinical trials, and treatment options.
Embracing endless hope for further discovery
My ALK Positive inhibitor has controlled my lung cancer and brain mets. I have seen fellow patients living with lung cancer changing treatments once progression comes. I hope that there will be more research and clinical trials on dealing with progression and that more treatment options will be available to all people living with lung cancer.
Keeping my faith helps me to heal
I, for one, believe in miracles and healing. Prayers among believers hold great power. In addition, the journey seems lighter to face when surrounded by people of faith. On top of this, I have made godly promises to hang on amid chaos and uncertainty. I have so much gratitude that I have faith that makes me whole. I wish for other patients living with lung cancer to find their own version of faith to help them traverse their own paths.
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?