Excerpts

Excerpt 1

Why should each cancer survivor have to reinvent the wheel, and not derive benefit from others who have gone down the road ahead of them? Why not share the knowledge and lessons learned? This book is then meant to be a tool kit or how-to for the journey – through the cancer diagnosis, treatment, and life as a survivor. It reflects the lessons I learned going through the experience of cancer, as well as those of many survivors I have talked to along the way. Additional insight was gained through discussion with doctors, nurses, caregivers, and others whose lives have been touched by cancer.

Despite the cancer "bump in the road," having a positive mindset for my life ahead provided me with the means to move forward. Additionally, I noted that others with a good attitude toward cancer and life also had an easier time coping with this disease. Attitude provides you with something bigger than cancer and helps you to get through the experience, move on as a survivor, and improve your life.

The ultimate goal is a life that is more fulfilling and positive, despite your illness. To do this, you must develop what I call the "determined fighter" view. You must decide in your own mind to tackle cancer head on. Instead of moping or complaining about how dreadful this disease is, you must in fact be challenged by it to fight on in the face of adversity. Let it be the battle cry to arouse all your determination to "beat this." If you have faith in your doctors and medical staff to take care of their side of the process, then you must take care of your mind and attitude!

Excerpt 2

It is very important, especially in the early diagnosis and treatment phase, to build or find a support system. Support can come from many, many sources: a spouse, family, relatives, friends, church groups, coworkers, neighbors, cancer support groups (such as Gilda's Club), and others. Support also comes from internet resources, books, and magazines. It will quickly become apparent, as word spreads, that there are more people concerned about you and your success with treatment than you think. The support I received was incredible. I received calls, Mass cards, greeting cards, visits, offers of stem cells for my transplant, prayers, gifts, and more, from a surprising number of people. All these things help to give you strength, determination, and a positive outlook. I discovered through weeks and months of treatment that people are essentially good, and very interested in the welfare of their fellow man. My faith in the human race, despite the daily negativity in the news, has been restored through the support given to me in so many ways.

Learning new things helps us feel worthwhile, and more confident as we go forward. This impact from learning doesn't have to be just for the person dealing in adversity; it is good for everyone. This concept of "keep learning" goes beyond just cancer. It is the interest in and process of continuing to learn about new ideas and the world around us. Sometimes our jobs or careers are the source of a need to learn more. At other times, it could be hobbies or sports that pique our interest to learn. In adversity, we have specific things related to the problem at hand that require us to investigate or become more informed. But beyond our problems, we can keep learning for the fun and enjoyment of it. By pursuing classes or learning on our own, we can enhance our knowledge level in our hobbies, pastimes, and other areas of our lives. In doing so, we expand our intellect, broaden our interests, round out our personality and expand our understanding. If we do something for ourselves, that gives us a better outlook.