Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Some Clarity

Things are still going really well. I am amazed each day that I even had a chemo treatment just one week ago. Tricia said something that made me laugh the other day, she said "that's what chemo is supposed to feel like!". If that's true, the next 3 cycles are much less worrisome.

The one big difference that I have noticed with these set of drugs is that I have some mental clarity much quicker. With the last cycles, I found that even by the end of week 3, my brain felt fuzzy and things weren't coming out of my mouth as clearly as they were laid out in my head. But I have felt a mental energy that reminds me of how I used to feel before the treatments even started. Unfortunately I tend to get ahead of my physical energy and find myself in bed by about 2 pm each day to catch up.

My next set of treatments are already booked for the week of the 26th. I felt so good over the weekend that I told my mom I was going to call my nurse this week and get my next cycle moved up. But, as the fatigue has set in this week, I decided to not overdo it.

Next week I go to see my surgeon, Dr. Daphne Mew. She is really great and did a great job with my first surgery. We will discuss timing for my next surgery and the recovery from that. For those of you know that know me well - I already have my questions all prepared for her.

With the clarity that I'm starting to feel, it gives me more of a chance to reflect on this journey that I have been on so far. I believe that most things in life happen for a reason and it's up to us to figure out why. Many Breast Cancer survivors say that getting this disease was the best thing that ever happened to them. They all gained some type of clarity that they didn't have before.

With your life hanging in a delicate balance, you do tend to think about what things are important to you and what you want out of your life. It's actually too bad that we have to go through something so intense to think so deeply about these things, but I hope that my experience will make each of you give this some more thought.

In Tricia's blog she talks about some wise advice that a friend recently gave her. I am going to copy in that part because she says it better than I ever could. "On one lunch, a wise friend asked me if I had made a list of things I wanted to do, especially in this "limbo" period, where I am well enough to do some things but not healthy enough to return to work. The truth is, I've had an informal list ever since my diagnosis almost 10 years ago. I haven't ever formalized the list, but now I am thinking I should. From experience, I know if I write something down it is far more likely that I will do it! What's on your life list?"

At Long View, we do Career Life Planning. It allows everyone the chance to plan out what they want their career and their life to look like from now until retirement. It is a great exercise and really gets you to start thinking about these hard questions that many of us might not otherwise. This clarity has got me thinking that we could do even more to help people with their Life List. I am not sure of the details of this yet, but I think this might be one of the lessons that I can learn from my journey and something that I can really leverage to give back to society.

If we were all able to clearly detail our life list, it shouldn't matter when our time was up, because we knew what we wanted out of our life and were working towards it. Never has the saying "live each day like it's your last" had such meaning as now.

What's on your Life List?

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