One day in April, 1996 a doctor, out of the blue, told me I had leukemia. "What happens now and how does it affect my future?" I thought, which most people who are diagnosed would ask.
While a lot of it depends on the illness and the available treatments, some of it depends on you. How do you want to view the future and do you want to put your dreams on hold or discard them altogether?
I was very inspired recently while doing an interview with Hans Loland, a software executive from Seattle. Just a few years ago he found himself running out of energy at his weekend soccer games. It was oddly familiar to him because the same thing happened to his best friend. It turned out to be a rare leukemia and, unfortunately, Hans’ friend, died from it.
Hans found himself going down a similar road and he feared the result could be the same. As a young father of two it was terrifying but as he learned about his diagnosis he also learned about treatments, which included a clinical trial of a new medicine that could save his life.
He began taking the medicine and little by little the indicators about his illness started moving in a positive direction. That’s when Hans and his wife decided to have a third child. Little Cooper was born to parents who didn’t know what the future held but they refused to give up living – and dreaming. You can watch the interview, “A Clinical Trial and a Growing Family” at http://goo.gl/Hrz6M
When someone is diagnosed with a serious illness it is easy to become depressed and see no future at all. It can become hard to put one foot in front of the other each day. But people can go on, not just with cancer but with many other conditions. They can have children, success at work and take trips around the world.
You have a real shot at achieving a dream. It may be different than what you originally envisioned, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
If you are someone dealing with a serious illness such as cancer and would like information on dealing with depression then you may find my interview with Lynn Waldman of interest. She is a senior social work counselor at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her practice focuses on fostering patient independence and helping people cope with life changes. The interview, “The Keys to Cancer Survivorship,” can be found at http://goo.gl/AgY72
About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, plus transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.
Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info and on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Schorr is also the author of “The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis" found at www.websavvypatient.com/
Interview, Lynn Waldmann, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.; Senior social work counselor; MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; 9/19/2011; posted online at http://www.patientpower.info/program/the-keys-to-cancer-survivorship
Reviewed November 18, 2011
by MIchele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Malu Banuelos