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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Going back to work today, but a few things first

It is Thursday morning, 9:30 and rainy out. I'm waiting for my first visit from a home-health nurse, who will examine my surgeries and show me how to maintain them, since they will be with me for a while. He or she also is expected to bring some supplies, including a pump for when I need to infuse liquid food into my stomach and said food. Yum.

I heard back the other day from a longtime friend who, until the other day, I had no idea was a cancer survivor. And has been free of the disease for nearly 10 years. She doesn't want her name used here, and I'm happy to accommodate. But she offered me a slew of wonderful tips, and I will add them here so others in my shoes might learn.

First among her tips is this: "Plan something big for yourself when your treatment is over. My thinking always was, 'Hell, when it's over, that's going to be reward enough!' But honestly, it wasn't, believe it or not."

I believe it, my friend. After just surgery, I feel like I owe myself something.

I can't help but to follow her advice. It's going to take a while, and I will consider the end of my treatment after my surgery. So it's a way off, but still a great idea. And a goal.

Another tip from my friend: "Set mini-goals for yourself, like, 'After the first week is over, I'm going to do XYZ.' Or buy yourself a small present or something. Trust me, it helps. A lot."

This person is several years younger than I, and she had the disease when she was just a wee lass, barely out of college. Still, her wisdom shows: "I'm not going to sugar coat it (and I'm sure your docs didn't either), but you have a bitch of a road ahead. You're going to find strength inside you that you never even knew existed. Not necessarily a bad thing, either. Just sucks that this is how you have to find it!"

It does indeed.

I'll update with more of her insights after the nurse comes and goes.

And if you have any stories or anecdotes, either as a cancer patient or caregiver, please add comments. They'll help me, and in this forum they could help many others.

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