Log in or Register to participate in these discussions

Cancer is my teacher.

Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by ZeroGravity60 on Mar 12, 2019 5:50 am

Hello to all those in my new found community. Although the reason for being here sucks, I thank the Canadian Cancer Society for making this service available.

I have colon cancer that has spread to my kidneys. I was told the growth in my colon could burst at any time spreading bacteria in my body and killing me I guess almost instantly. A potential blessing in disguise. I declined medical treatment.

Can I say that here? I mean that can be a hot button topic for so many. But honestly I don't want to be on this site if I have to lie about me. I have nothing against chemo, it's just not for me. Some or most would say I'm taking a stupid risk. Perhaps, but it's still my stupid risk to take.

My expiration date, anywhere from July 2019 to August 2023. The medical community has essentially told me I will not see Christmas day 2023. I beg to differ. I'm a bit of a writer and in the three moths since I was diagnosed, I've turned to writing to help me deal with my cancer. I wrote this a few days ago as a teaching for myself but written for an audience. It's the teacher in me.🙄
Cancer is a wake up call. I believe the lessons of one's cancer can hold the cure to one's disease. I learned this particular lesson just the other day.

"Those who say only sunshine can bring happiness, have never danced in the rain."
[Author Unknown]

What is it about saying goodbye that knocks us down to our very core. The main reason I rarely say hello is because I know I'll eventually have to say goodbye and I can't handle that. I'd rather be alone then experience the pain of eventual loss. I obviously have some deep psychological blocks that make me think and react this way.

Now with my cancer diagnosis I'm the one who may end up saying goodbye. That doesn't bother me as much. For me to be the one leaving is easy. It's the ones left behind who have to pick up the pieces, they are the ones who suffer for years to come. My mom is devastated. She's 86 and has told me she's determined to leave before I do.

I think part of the lesson to my cancer is I'm to let go of my fear of experiencing emotional pain, and let others in. Or maybe because I'm the one leaving it's easy to reach out knowing I wont have to clean up the mess. Either way my illness has taught me it's okay to be sad and to hurt. It's okay to put yourself in those situations. Since my diagnosis 3 months ago I've reestablished lines of communication with my 3 sons and my older brothers. It's sad it took cancer to learn my lesson.

As unrealistic as it may sound, I honestly believe I'll survive this disease and live to help others. As for being afraid to say hello for fear of having to say goodbye, I don't care anymore. Again it's probably because I subconsciously realize I'll probably never be the one that gets hurt. I would like to think my new approach to life is real inner growth but whatever the real reason, it's brought our family a little closer, and for that I'm grateful.

In all truth, I hid during the days of sunshine and now that it's raining, I'm finally learning how to dance.

Even with cancer as my teacher, I say better late then never.


We all need family especially when we're sick.😢
Perhaps I can join this family
and we can help and encourage each other.

Peace, love, mercy and healing to us all.😉


Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by Elizabeth06 on Mar 12, 2019 9:58 am

Welcome ZeroGravity60‍ 
sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I have metastatic breast cancer, so, I feel I have faced some of the issues you speak to in your post.
speaking for myself, I respect that treatment or no treatment is your choice.
i am currently in treatment, not the curative kind, but it has been extending my life and I am grateful for the extra time.  I’m not ready to go, but, I am realistic about my circumstances.  The day will come when there are no more options available or I can’t tolerate what is offered and choose no further treatment.  My choice, when I get to that point.
 I’m glad you have found a way to repair the relationships with your family members.  That is a big win.  “Life is too short” is a statement made frequently and casually.  When you are facing a terminal diagnosis, it has far greater meaning.
i hope you continue to make good use of your time.  
I wish you well and look forward to more of your posts as you move forward.

Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by princessmaura on Mar 12, 2019 12:45 pm

ZeroGravity60‍, sometimes I wish I had refused my cancer treatment, too...I compromised my digestive system and have been vomiting a lot since my cancer treatment ended almost 3 years ago...
I admire your courage...to face the inevitable bravely...hello ZeroGravity60‍, welcome to cancer connection.ca...
cancer has taught me many things, opened my eyes, reawakened by senses...set me on the road of my cancer journey...

Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by Essjay on Mar 12, 2019 3:12 pm

ZeroGravity60‍, welcome to this community. Your strength comes across in your writing - thank you for sharing.

We all face choices in this journey, and each one is personal. For some, chemotherapy helps manage the worst of the disease to bring quality of life, for others it’s gives them a long and healthy future, for others it manages the spread of the disease and extends life, but the question we all face individually is ‘are the side effects of chemo worth it?’. You sound at peace with your decision to enjoy the rest of your life however long it is...

I wish you well - we are all here to listen and to support you whenever you need it. 


Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by Elsie13 on Mar 12, 2019 3:18 pm

Hello ZeroGravity60‍ .  You have the right to make decisions; treatment or no treatment, it's up to you.  You say that chemo is not for you, but did your doctors explain what the side effects of chemo would likely be?  Chemo treatments have come a long way in recent years.  With me, the main side effect was extreme fatigue, after chemo # 4, 5 and 6. There was a bit of nausea, (not vomiting) and the pills they gave me for that worked very well. My blood tests have shown no evidence of disease since the summer of 2017. I'm going to the gym 3 times a week; walking there and back. 
   I'm guessing from your mom's age, that you might be somewhere between 56 and 66? 

Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by princessmaura on Mar 12, 2019 3:40 pm

Elsie13‍, I'm happy for you that chemo did not cause vomiting as it did to me...it's good to hear that you are back to being physically active...I have not had a blood test for what seems like years...

Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by ZeroGravity60 on Mar 12, 2019 9:37 pm

Hi Elizabeth06 / princessmaura / Essjay / and Elsie13,

Thanks for the welcome and thanks for understanding treatment is my decision. I - had - a friend who pushed for chemo even after I told her no. When she finally understood I was serious, she dropped off the face of the earth. No contact in over two months. Not complaining, just demonstrating how divisive this issue can be. We cancer people must understand that family and friends may not be able to support us at first. Not until they have time to get over there own shock anger and fear.

Someone in the crowd is psychic. Not sure who said it but yes, I'm 58 yrs old and planning on being 80. I an so happy so many of you have found success with your treatment plan. In my situation I'm divorced and living alone, my kids are grown, and after a life long journey on a spiritual path, I believe I have a good idea of what awaits on the other side. I have no fear. Life is eternal and death is just a transformation. That said when my left pelvis and nut started aching last night, I did question if what I'm doing is working. Still hurts today. Keeping my eye on it.

In answer to your question, my doctor never had a chance to describe the now limited side effects of modern day chemo because I only attended one consultation. I had decided from the moment of my diagnosis 10 days earlier I was going to do it on my own. It's not that I fear discomfort, I suffered with sever migraines for 19 years. Got so tiered of going to the hospital for help, I finally learned how to go through them at home. I know what it's like to feel so sick you don't want to be here anymore.

Thank you for taking the time to welcome me. I'm not a basket case but I work by phone and over the years my clients had become a substitute for friends in the physical. When clients learned I had cancer they all disappeared in under 3 months. Our loved ones will stand by us but those on the outer limits of our circle are to uncomfortable to be around us. Has anyone else had this same experience?

Again we must give others time to get over there feelings. So with meager savings topping off my monthly budget I'm free to do whatever I want. [As long as it doesn't cost anything.😒] Today I got up when I felt like it, followed my program for 2 hrs, went out and bought some really really really healthy groceries. I even made it past the potato chip isle. I'm a chipaholic. One large bag every two days for years. So, why am I sick Lord? Anyway I believe diet is only 20% of the cure. I believe mind and emotions make up the other 80%.

When it comes to diet I'm getting a 15 on 20. I still refuse to give up my two pots of coffee a day, but I am also drinking water. I always did run my toys into the ground long before there due date. Now I can see I treated my body the same way. I'm changing albeit slowly.


Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by Kims1961 on Mar 13, 2019 8:25 am

ZeroGravity60‍   Welcome to this awesome community and thank you!!!  Your posts are so helpful to others.  I hope you find the same.

I really enjoy your writing style  and sense of humour.  I found the lump in my breast at the age of 56 - feeling in "perfect" health ( who knew what lurked in the dark at that time). I had clear mammograms prior and no breast cancer in my family.  Now at almost 58 - i've lost both breasts ( no reconstruction), did chemo and radiation.  It's been quite a journey - let me tell you!   I caught myself with the old...ok I'll do surgery but not chemo....ok - i'll do chemo but not radiation and so on...For a while it seemed every appt. the news was getting worse. I've also had to do some "mind shifting"...the old - never say never...lol

So...blah, blah, blah - what you have highlighted is that this is a community of "no judgement" .  There are others who don't choose treatments, others who have had it all and in between. We didn't get to choose cancer but we can choose how we want to manage it and everyone is different.  My only worry has been when somebody targets vulnerable people with "miracle" cures.  Someone told me to just eat grapes...if you can believe it. I've come to understand that people are not sure what to say to me, so they try to offer info. they've heard or someone in their family suggested...I"ve come to accept this with "no judgment" as well.  People don't know what to say or do - so i understand this. Some friends that i didn't hear from, i realized have their own struggles and I try to not take offence from this.  Sometimes we just have to ask others what can help us - or better yet - continue to be there for others.

Positive attitude can't hurt and certainly in my own story has been so helpful.  Exercise - connecting with the outdoors - have been good for my soul and body.  Simple things seem to have more meaning now.  Yet...here again - it's a personal journey.  I just realized that my mental health is as important as my physical health - yet - the treatment was so directed at my physical issues.

The other thing i have found is that when i talk about death/dying - I get many people say " You're going to live for a long time" or are uncomfortable with the topic.  All of us are going to die.  I appreciate it's not an easy topic and it's not that i have decided that i'm doomed now but rather - i'm going to live before I die....hows that for a cliche! It was helpful for me to plan for my death - not being grim - just being organized.  It helped my mental health.

Hope this community is helpful.  I so appreciate your contributions to it.  Look forward to other posts!  KIm

Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Mar 13, 2019 12:07 pm

ZeroGravity60‍, I join the others in welcoming you to Cancer Connection, and want to offer a couple of tidbits of info.

A lot of the time, people do drift away. It happens all through our life, but it seems to happen a lot more frequently around a cancer diagnosis. Even as a caregiver, I had people in my life “take off.” For some, it’s because they don’t know what to say (I actually used to be in that category myself), and for others it’s because of their own fear about the disease.

The other thing is unrelated, but I’m sure you’ll find it useful. If you want to tag someone in a post, just put the @ symbol immediately before their name (no space). Once you’ve typed the first few letters, a drop-down will appear with some suggestions. As you continue typing, the list will narrow down until you see the person you seek. 

I wish you well on your journey.

Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by Metalqueen on Apr 7, 2019 3:28 am

Welcome ZeroGravity60‍ 

I really enjoyed reading your post, it gave me another perspective and outlook on my feelings about cancer and I want to thank you for that. Thankfully found this looking for info on how to support my Mom who was recently diagnosed with non hodgkin lymphoma large b cell. People sharing their stories and personal experiences with cancer has helped me in so many ways.  The comment you made about people falling off the face of the earth really resonated with me. I also recently learned that people seem to disappear when you mention cancer. I did not expect this reaction from family, moms close friends and a few of my adult children. At first I was shocked, angry and now am appreciating the small things in life. You are so right in saying  "cancer is my teacher" 
 I am also a chipaholic lol
reading your post made my day 

Re: Cancer is my teacher.

Posted by mycrazyjourney on Apr 24, 2019 3:58 pm

Zerogravity60, I agree with your title, Cancer is my teacher... in the past year dealing with my breast cancer, I have learned so much. Cancer has changed me and I am thankful for that... I am sorry for what you are going through, I am a strong believer in a positive attitude and wish you all the best in your journey. Please continue to write and enlighten us all, I look forward to your posts.