Hey Social Media Bus fans! I hear there's a mini-impromptu fundraiser occuring at this very moment on the social media bus heading from BOS to NYC...... Drive the bus over here to make your donations!!! Help me blow the lid off this fundraising thermometer !!!!
I'm watching an unbelievable display of social media unfold before my very eyes........ For those of you that are asking.... The mission of the Staley Foundation is to provide education, advocacy, and overall assistance to cancer patients currently undergoing treatment. My Foundation aims to address the huge gap that exists for patients the need care, but can't afford or access this care. Help me make a difference at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. They've cared for me for 14 years. It's time for me to help them out! Get on the bus!
Yesterday was a big day for my twitter friend, Brian (@bsimi).He finished his last chemo and gets pitched back into the real world of life, post-chemo starting today.He’s a fighter and a survivor.I’ve been honored to watch his progress, thanks to twitter, over the past few months.He’s done a great job.
His big day got me thinking about my last chemo day, way back in 1993.I was thrilled to close that chapter in my life.No more needles, no more IV hooks.It’s a strange time in one’s life – it’s a milestone that few people will ever have to mark, and it’s a milestone I wish more people could avoid… but until “they” find the elusive cure-all for cancer, some people will have to endure the chemo drips, the radiation burns, and the surgical scars, all in pursuit of restored health.
One thing I’ve always wished I had was a checklist or guide to my new post-chemo life.Here’s my attempt at providing this list for Brian…
To Brian, here’s a few things I wish I knew when I finished my last chemo.
1)There is no normal. You’re life won’t return “to normal”.Normal is a vaporous state, that’s never achieved by anyone.Your life evolves; don’t spend precious time chasing some non-existent state of being.Trust me, this one will save you millions in therapy… Just ask my shrink mental health coordinator.
2)You might get anxious.A few weeks out from your last treatment, you might get a little anxious.You’ll realize that you’re no longer “actively” fighting your cancer.It can be a strange time.For some people, chemo can act as a security blanket, it reinforces that you’re doing something to defeat your cancer.The end of treatment is rather abrupt… One day you’re getting chemo, the next day you're done.No more treatment.It’s like you just jumped into the deep end of life for the first time, without your “floaties”.It can be scary but, don’t worry.The feeling will pass.
3)Listen to your body.Your body is a fine tuned machine. An experience with cancer heightens your sense of awareness of your body and all its interconnected systems.Pay attention to your body – when you’re tired, rest.When you’re feeling blue, acknowledge it.When you’re feeling good, enjoy it. Your body will tell you what you need – just listen to it and respect it.
4)Make sure you go to all your follow-up appointments.This is very important.You might feel like a strong, healthy person and don’t need to see the doctors to “just to check in.”Nonsense!Make sure you check in.Be an active participant in your long-term care.You’re a survivor.With survivorship comes the additional burden of long-term care.Make sure your doctors have a long term plan for you- they’ll keep an eye on all your vital systems and make sure there’s minimal long term effects from your chemo.
5)Celebrate the little things in life.Every day is a gift.Look around; take time to really see things in your life.Beauty is everywhere.Life is a magical thing.Enjoy it.
6)Be patient. As you begin to move forward in your life, you might notice that not everyone around you has the “wide-eyed” optimism and appreciation for life that you now have.Be patient with these people – help show them the way. (Thank you Liz.)
Brian, welcome to the cancer survivors club. You were a member the first day you were diagnosed.Congratulations on battling the BIG C monster.