Contributions from

These are the experiences, ideas and views of each individual person featured here. Your own situation may be different and these ideas may not work for you.

Diagnosed in 2013


Lifting myself up

There are days, especially as I near upcoming tests, that "scanxiety"* kicks in. All cancer patients know what that feels like. And then, assuming the scans come back negative, everything resets itself until the next set of tests.

Having family and friends close by, and an "electronic family" within reach, has had a huge effect in helping maintain my positive outlook.

I'm still trying to maintain my motto "business as usual," which means nothing changes. At least as it relates to those things that are within my control.

I've got 500 Rotarians, all the people in my sports group, my family and friends and fellow lung cancer survivors online. I've got an enormous support group. There's been down days of course, but for the most part I've been able to maintain pretty well with that strong foundation.

*Scanxiety is a word some people with cancer use to describe the worry and anxiety ahead of a scan, getting results, or a medical appointment.

Diagnosed in 2006


It's important to do things that you feel give you some control. It feels totally out of control to be given this diagnosis, but there are things that are within your control.

Exercise is one of those. It's a mood elevator. It also is helpful to do all of the things that you can do to influence your treatment. Choosing which treatment provider that you have, choosing who you are going to involve in treatment.

I've found that on the one or two occasions when I went to appointments by myself, it was much more stressful. So having other people share the experience with you is important.

I feel a lot more deeply and I have a lot more awareness of my feelings. My gratitude for everything around me has grown exponentially. Stopping to smell the flowers is not just one of those clichés. I stop and smell the flowers, I stop to appreciate a couple of words that my secretary said when I walked by or that the sun is out today.

There is so much more that I appreciate.

Diagnosed in 2012


It's good to share the experience; it makes you feel good to do something.

When you're diagnosed with something as catastrophic as cancer, you have to put yourself first. You have to make sure you're listening to your body.

I'm more aware that life is precious and you have to enjoy every moment, particularly with the grandchildren. You never know what is down the road and we don't want to miss anything.

Don't take anything for granted!

Diagnosed in 2013


I'm a strong believer in prayer. But beyond that, the last thing I do before I go to sleep is list things I'm thankful for that day. It could be something as simple as the fact the sun is shining or somebody brought my newspaper in for me. Little things that I'm so grateful for.

I'm also learning to reach out to people. Once a day, I try and reach out to someone. Maybe make a phone call, or little acts of kindness. They make you feel good.

Until you've had cancer and been through that you don't realize how important they are. Sending that card, sending a thank you note to somebody.

NED (No evidence of disease) for two years


I think being faced with your own mortality at age 28 is kind of eye-opening and it makes you more receptive to all the little things around you that are good. I think that my emotions are a little bit more focused, and I focus more on what's important. I've always been a positive person, but after this I feel that I'm even more positive, because I want to soak up everything and enjoy the life that I've been given.

Diagnosed in 2013



When I get down, I get together with other people or get involved in an activity. You get yourself into this mental spiral.

You have to do something different that breaks the cycle, whether it's a physical activity or a totally different mental activity.

It's important once in a while to have a pity party, to recognize that this is not where you'd want to be. But use that as catharsis.

You feel like you're out of control initially, but you can gain more control than you think.

Diagnosed in 2011


There were bad days. I tend to try and be positive, but there were days that I just simply could not be positive.

For me, writing down my feelings helps me to feel better. Blogging has been a good outlet for me - both writing my own blog posts, and reading the posts of other lung cancer patients and caregivers.

I appreciated being able to go to an online forum with other patients and say, "Hey I'm just having one of those days, and I need to talk about the bad stuff."

If I've developed a relationship with someone on the forum, I can have a private conversation with them rather than being in the open forum if I don't want to share my negative emotions with everyone.

A little bit of exercise (like pedaling slowly on a stationary bike, or gentle yoga), or cooking a simple but healthy food, gave me a sense that I could do something about my disease. Those activities helped me feel better.

Perhaps the biggest problem for lung cancer patients is the loss of control of our lives. Cancer makes me realize that I really don't have any control over my life, much as I would like to think I do. For me, researching and learning about my disease, and writing about it, gives me the sense that I'm doing something positive about my disease.

Diagnosed in 2008


What lifts my spirits?

Walking, exercising, having a positive attitude. I've always been a go-getter, a hard worker.

Really, the first thing that helps me is my faith. And then the positive came after that. I always had faith, but never the faith I have now.

Dealing with the bad days

I can't be negative, because I have no control over anything. Sometimes I feel sad but I just look up at the sky and say "OK."

Every day is a gift and I need to enjoy it, not be depressed, not be sad. I don't have time to be sad.

Diagnosed in 2011


Most people say they can't believe how I react to things because I try to keep such a positive attitude, and of course I have my days.

When I have one of those days I'd probably go online and read different blogs or I'll ask questions on a blog and say, "Hey, I'm feeling this way today, what have you done to get yourself out of it?"

I'll listen to what other people have done and make my own judgments on that. I have also found that sleep is a lovely escape.

Diagnosed in 2004


I'm a glass-half-full kind of person so I don't let it get me down. It's frustrating at times, and when it doesn't feel good.

But on the flip side, sometimes I turn it into a joke. But I have to be careful how far I push the jokes! I think it's important that we put some humor into cancer, because it makes everyone feel a little better about it.

I don't want people to worry about me or feel sorry for me. I have a really good life.

It's important in life to have some really close friends you can be yourself with. Especially when you're going through an illness like this.

Diagnosed in 2011


I have my friends and my family, I have my beautiful house in this beautiful place and I don't get blue. I really don't.

I don't want to be the sick patient. You know with lung cancer that can happen at any moment. I could be on oxygen, I know that, so I have to take advantage of every wonderful, beautiful day that I have and you do learn to be grateful much more.

Your priorities change and when you wake up in the morning and you're not coughing and you're happy and you're hungry. You say thank you God, thank you universe, thank you somebody but you don't take it for granted like I did for sure. This isn't a game, this is scary stuff but you've got to keep your attitude. It's what I tell people when they first get diagnosed with cancer or somebody calls me and says, "Can I have my friend call you?"

I always let them and I say to them, you can't prescribe your own medicine but you can keep your attitude healthy and up. It's the only thing you've got going for you and if you give in to it, you don't have a chance.

You've got to stay strong and positive however you can, and I really believe that's one of the best things that I do for myself.

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