Lydia

Diagnosed in 2008

Lydia is 59 years old and was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2008. She lives in Texas.

The three things I had to do to be better was believe in God, stay positive and exercise. Everything else falls together. Keep on moving, don't stop.

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.

Lydia's Journey With Cancer

  • Diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2008
  • Several treatments of chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapies
  • Multiple treatments of radiation

When I was diagnosed

It was overwhelming for a year. The nurse practitioner told me not to stress. Everything's beyond my control - I'm a controlling person - so I had to quit trying to control. I still find that very hard.

It's very important to talk to people. Your mind can go places you didn't think it could ever go. It gives you some terrible thoughts.

People in the same boat

I like to give them hope. I like to help people, I like to encourage them or pray with them. I think it's very helpful.

Emotions

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.

Friends & Family

At first

My sons saw me differently. But now that I'm still here they're back to the way they were before.

Having family close by is very important.

Health & Fitness

You can't tell now but I used to be very athletic!

I read on Inspire about a lady who made herself walk to the kitchen. That doesn't seem hard for some people, but for some of us it would be. So I started walking. It helped me. You see things differently. You see the birds, you look at the world different.

Every day I set a goal to do certain things and I make sure I meet those goals by the end of the day.

Diet & Nutrition

I'm a good cook but I'm not a good nutritionist!

After I got diagnosed I started watching what I ate. Then I couldn't eat at all so the doctor said "you'd just better eat - period." So I did.

I try to eat better. I get recipes off websites and Facebook. They give us pamphlets at the doctor's office from the American Cancer Society and it's basically the same thing that diabetics eat.

Hobbies & Leisure

I have a daughter-in-law who's very crafty, so I go over there and learn how to do crafts with my girls.

I love garage selling. I love finding things that are old, things that are new and I enjoy talking to other people who garage sell themselves.

There's some way I can tell that they have cancer, so I'll just talk to them about my situation. I feel something toward them and I just tell them my story and they get inspired.

I tell them how I started, that I'm still here. When I first read on the web that I only had a year to live, I totally freaked out about that. Knowing that I'm on my sixth year, I tell them that just because you've got this diagnosis doesn't mean it's the end of the world. You have to remain positive.

Travel

Before my diagnosis I'd just traveled the States.

Since then, my sister has taken me on three cruises to Mexico, and Central America. So I've traveled differently.

Before I used to be scared. Now I've built up the courage to do anything once because of what I've been through with cancer.

Shopping

I usually go early, when there's nobody there, because I'm afraid of anybody having the flu. I don't go around a lot of people.

Work

When I found out, some of my co-workers got scared and didn't want to talk to me anymore. Some were real compassionate - most of them were great.

Luckily, when I retired, I got to babysit my two granddaughters. I know that's why I'm still here today. I still help out with them.

Also, trying to help other people who were sick, trying to tell them what made me feel good.

When we'd do the chemos all the patients are in one room. I'd hear their stories, they'd hear my stories - that helped me out a lot.

Finances

I talk to my credit union sometimes and get their advice.

On lung cancer websites there's lung cancer advocacy - I talk to them and see what they suggest.

Lydia's Perspective

I didn't like to read anything about lung cancer when I was diagnosed, and I should have. Now I want to know everything I can know about lung cancer and not ignore it.

Be knowledgeable, be happy, love everyone and forgive everyone. You don't have to forget them, but you can forgive them.

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