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Limitations of a Life with Lung Cancer

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My life with cancer, right now, has many limitations.

I no longer see patients because of my pain medication regimen. I have very limited reserves of energy and must rest after a single flight of stairs or making the bed in the morning. I can’t feel my feet (neuropathy from chemotherapy) or the back of my left leg (probably nerve damage related to metastatic disease in my spine). I can’t stand for more than a minute without uncontrollable back pain so it’s very difficult for me to do something as simple as go to the grocery store.

While it would be easy to compare my abilities unfavorably to my life before (not even before cancer, even just a few months ago when I was accompanying my daughter on trips for her travel volleyball team that required much walking, standing in lines and hours of sitting in folding chairs in gyms), I prefer to take note of the fact that these limitations don’t result in diminishments in the quality of my life. I am still able to find joy in these beautiful late summer days in Connecticut. I am still able to sit in a stadium chair in the school gym for high school volleyball games. I am still able to sit in my oh so comfortable recliner and work on a quilt. I am still able to enjoy the rich offerings in televised sports and movies. I am still able to drive without limitation (and enjoy audio books on my long commute). I am still able to work and contribute to my employer’s success.

I could focus on what I am not able to do, but I prefer to take note of the fact that the many limitations I face have not resulted, at least so far, in a diminishment in the quality of my life. As long as my pain and nausea are controllable, I am living and loving life. Right now they ARE controlled and I feel well. So bring on the quilts, the volleyball games, the homework help for my kids, the televised sports, the visitors, the good food and drink, the laughter and the joy.

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Thank you, Lisa. Your post is inspiring to say the least. And for those of us who whine over smaller things as though they have "ruined our day," you are a wise teacher. Thank you.

September 18, 2009 - 8:36am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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