Don’t look down

L1000367  Linnea and Sadie hugging a treeThis morning I was doing some research on the internet for an entry about being a lung cancer survivor. I was searching for long-term survival statistics. Initially, I was looking at overall survival and then I began to break it down by stages. The survival statistics associated with a lung cancer diagnosis are definitely not reassuring, and I am well acquainted with them.  I am someone who is comfortable with a lot of information. I am also pragmatic and reality-based when it comes to tough issues. This approach does not embrace denial but does require a certain emotional detachment.

As I narrowed my search to stage IV survival statistics, I began to get a feeling almost like vertigo.

You see, in many ways, life with terminal cancer is like walking on a tight rope–and in order to maintain balance, it is important to focus only on the goal.  I had just looked down, and suddenly I was paralyzed by fear.

I turned off the computer.  I took  a nap.  I went on a walk.  I cleaned the attic.  By returning to these tasks of daily living, I was able to feel as if my feet were on solid ground again.

The photo is of me and my friend Sadie.  We were hiking in the woods behind our house this past weekend.  I have my arms wrapped around an old beech and Sadie’s hugging me and the tree.  With big trees such as this one, I swear I can feel the life in them; almost a faint throb or hum.  I like to think that Sadie is listening for that pulse in me as well, and that we are both hanging on for dear life.

8 responses to “Don’t look down

  1. Cool pic. also love what you said about “not looking down”. Always keeping hope is what works.

    Love you!

  2. I love you Mrs. Duff! You are the greatest!!!!

  3. Linnea, I just sent you a msg via the LCA Surv. Community.

    I’m so sorry you came across things you shouldn’t have had to see. In my recent speech I came up with an acronym to rebuild hope when it’s been dashed – also just published something on Beliefnet (see “How to play the HOPE Card Through Cancer – http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Physical-Health/Playing-the-Hope-Card.aspx ). The “P” stands for “Protection” – and I try to protect myself from discouraging stats, which are just that – stats, and nothing more. I collect success stories – seek them through various sites. I just came across one and it’s a reminder to blog about it! Thanks for that reminder!

    The “O” is for “Options” – know you always have them.

    Have to run but wanted to let you know I’m with you.
    Always hope,
    Lori

  4. Thank you Carolyn and Mr. H–love you both. I appreciate your checking out the site Lori. It was just a temporary setback–but I felt it was important to acknowledge that it does happen. I’m kind of addicted to hope though–I never go long without it. Take care, Linnea

  5. Linnea, I really like the surviving cancer approach. I was diagnosed in February with stage IIIA NSCLC and had a RUL resection and Lymph node removed and A gortex patch sewn in to replace the pleura that was removed. A month later we found 2 lesions in the brain and I am now stage IV. I had Gamma Knife surgery followed by 12 weeks of chemo. Monday I will begin 6-7 weeks of radiation with a weekly dose of chemo. The journey has been very interesting and to this point, unless I tell someone I have LC, no one would ever know. I have been saying all along that I am surviving cancer with hopes of becoming a survivor. In the meantime, I live as much as possible, work, play and travel. In many ways LC has given me a better life or at least a life I can appreciate more. I choose to live each day. Cancer is what it is and It’s our choice to let it rule our lives or let it just be a part of our lives. I enjoy reading your blogs. thanks, joe

    • Joe–thank you so much for the comment. I applaud your attitude and your courage when you say the journey has been interesting. It is certainly an opportunity to learn a lot about yourself and what is really important in life. I tell people that I can’t change the fact that I have cancer–that is out of my control. However, I can regain some control by determining how I respond to my cancer. Optimism and a hungry zest for life works for me. Stay in survival mode and know that I would be pleased if you kept in touch. Linnea

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