The yin and yang of having cancer

Just recently my husband received an email from a friend asking how I was and he replied in a matter of fact way about my current condition, when I read it though afterwards I thought how negative it must all have sounded to the other person and did it really reflect the totality of my situation. It got me thinking, is it possible that having myeloma has given me anything rather than just taking things away from my life, and after a lot of soul searching I have decided it has. Life is so much more straight forward now , what seemed important before has now become trivial and I take joy out of things which before would have past me by unnoticed. So I was wondering what insights my fellow patients have discovered about life and themselves during their individual journeys with cancer that could inspire and motivate others.

Best wishes , Alfie

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Hi Alfie. Certainly there are a lot of things that my cancer treatment took away from me…hearing loss, my ability to continue in my job, my energy, not being able to fly…and given me long term side effects…but then…
I know who my true friends are, and have made many new friends.
My involvement with Bloodwise.
I have time to sit and enjoy the blue sky, the birds in the garden, the flowers announcing that Spring is near.
If I was still working I would not have been able to spend so much time with my two oldest grandchildren with whom I have a fantasic relationship (unfortunately school has meant we cannot spend as much time together now)
I have lived long enough to see two children married and my fourth grandchildren is due next week.
I can get up when I want, and my days are not dictated by a “to do” list, as most things I can arrange when I want.
Discovering the joys of rail travel in Europe (ok, more expensive, but you do get a better view, than from a plane)
Just enjoy the moment, and count our blessings when we have a good day.
Best wishes

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What a beautiful reply, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I share your approach to life despite the limitations my particular disease places on my life and hope to be inspired by fellow forum members.

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Thank you. Strange thing to say I know, but sometimes I think I have gained more from having to go through what I have. My children are a stronger unit (although always close). As the saying goes “What does not kill you makes you stronger.”

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I agree with everything you and @Pisces56 have said and won’t repeat it all. I think the biggest plus for me is that I have gained so much personal insight into me and how I ‘tick’ medically, practically and emotionally. I went through life on autopilot before diagnosis. I now know what is important to me and what my priorities are. I am a better person for it. As has just been said in another post, the best things in life are free.

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Yes I agree, I think when you get a diagnosis of cancer or any major illness it leads you to explore your hinterland and it’s amazing what treasures you find there when you do.

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I always feel a little reluctant to say that there have been positives to Hugo having cancer, but there have been and I think it helps to stop every so often and appreciate them. I like to think I am more understanding of others, it’s shown me that you never know what other people might be going through or what battles they are facing. It’s shown me how strong we are, as individuals, but also as a family. We can appreciate what we do have and what is really important in life. We used to say we tried to find joy in the ordinary and I think we did pretty well. We are now trying to find ourselves again, post treatment, and pick out the positives and leave the rubbish behind!

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What a beautiful and insightful response, I am sure you now see the colours of the world more brightly than before.

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Alfie, I was diagnosed with Myeloma in 2006. It caused me to have renal failure so that all sounds very negative. However in the first year when I was very ill I was so impressed with the support I had from friends, colleagues and even ex colleagues that it helped keep me positive. I also decided that instead of saving for a rainy day this was my rainy day. I spent money on my house to make it more comfortable and looking nice as I was going to be at home more. I also decided that instead of looking for cheap deals for holidays I was going to indulge in some luxury and now only go to 4 or 5 star hotels on holiday. My husband and I both took early retirement, me on health grounds and him to look after me. As a result we have more time together, can help with the grandchildren and do the things we enjoy like theatre etc. Yes there are down sides, can only travel to Europe, insurance is much more expensive, had to give up cycling (lost 6” in height due to Myeloma and developed osteoporosis) but lots and lots of positives in my life and have now been in remission for 12 years.

Joan

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Dear Joan
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am happy you have been in remission for so long and that you have put it to good use and have enjoyed your life. I have had the luxury of spending the nine months since diagnosis with ppcl myeloma in having my husband looking after me full time. It has been a magical experience and I am so lucky that we have the resources to allow it.
Best wishes
Alfie

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Joan, I like your new philosophy, as you I was brought up to save for a rainy day. Before my diagnosis I went through life on autopilot and I believe the one thing the bombshell gave me was a new insight into me and what is really important to me. I am far less materialistic now ‘the best things in life are free’, where did all these sayings come from? I also contracted osteoporosis and I lost 5’ in height, ‘the best things come in small packages’ and all that. I lost my height between my boobs and hips so my waist went. For the last 3 yrs I have been working on getting those muscles working again to support my spine through pilates, it has saved me. What sort of theatre productions do you like?

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Erica, I like a varied type of theatre. Recently saw A Different Way Home which was two monologues, a bit like the Alan Bennett monologues, poignant, moving but also at times funny. Also recently saw Brecht’s Mother Courage and have tickets for a play entitled The Verdict. The one type I dislike are farces and I dislike pantomime too but in the past have taken the children and now the grandchildren to lots of productions such as Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ronald Dahl plays etc.

Joan

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