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What do you differently because of cancer?

What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by MCoaster on Aug 17, 2020 3:08 pm

No question, life is different because of either our own diagnosis or the diagnosis of someone we care for.  Cancer is truly life altering in so many ways.

Emotionally I now know that  “Cancer” has many facets and because of that I try to listen a lot more and not think I “ know” what is going on with someone.  I am still working on this. 

Instead of hurrying the dog on his early morning toilet visit I walk under the cedars, take conscious breaths and express my thanks for another beautiful day be it sunny or rainy and reset myself to the moment.   Luckily Toby is very tuned in to how I feel.

Physically after years of trying to always find the easiest way I now do what helps me physically.  For example we are lucky to have a garden and this morning instead of using a grabber and step stool to reach the beans, apples, figs and plums I remembered that stretching helps me to recover from my surgery.   My diet is also changing and I ate what I had just picked rather than my usual toast.

These are very little things that have changed for me.

What has changed in your life and do you have any coping skills to share?   

Thoughtful hugs 🤗 



Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Mammabear on Aug 18, 2020 11:05 am

What a great topic. Yoga was the one thing I could manage during cancer 1.0 and I have continued. It keeps me grounded, breathing and stretching these old aching muscles. I do a gentle hatha stretch sequence every morning. During my breathing at the end I repeat what my daughter told me during cancer 1.0 when I was trying to work and do treatment.... You do enough, you have enough, you are enough. 

I walk slower, I breath more, I hug my family more fiercely. 

Also after cancer 1.0 I did sugar free Sept which was easy and I rarely consume refined sugar these days. Then I did sober October. That was harder. After a long week I felt I deserved that glass of wine. My nephew told me that just because it rhymes doesn't make it a good idea. I only every consumed alcohol on the weekend and never that much but cancer 2.0 was metastasized to my liver so alcohol was out for 5 months. My liver function is normal and my Onc says I am able to consume but my body feels better if I don't consume too much. I do enjoy the occasional beer on a hot afternoon or glass of wine but not as frequent and not around treatment day (every 3rd Friday).

Living with stage 4 cancer where my treatment could stop working at any time, I take the time I need to do what I need to live my best life. Prioritize family, yoga and walking the dog over chores and work. Quiet down cob webs, dust go to sleep, I am living my life and lives don't keep. 

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Kuching on Aug 19, 2020 8:36 am

Great topic!  At first, I thought of a whole bunch of stuff that I do differently, but then realized that almost all of them were because my husband died, or because of Covid.  But what do I do differently just because of my own cancer?  Well, I don’t buy green bananas.  Seriously, the main difference is that I don’t make any longterm plans - statistically, I’m highly unlikely to still be alive 5 years from now, so forget 10 year plans, investments, whatever.  Anything over two years, I’m not interested.  I’m also writing my memoirs and trying to knit a pair of socks - it’s a toss up which will get finished first, if ever.

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Clarke on Aug 19, 2020 9:49 pm

Life Is different,  very different!
I am beginning to find that I am not the same fellow I was before bladder cancer and surgery, just over a year ago.
My health, strength and energy have not bounced back.  My sharing of housekeeping and lawn care are seriously depleted.  It is easy to become frustrated.  And an afternoon nap is not only welcome, but almost a requirement.
i get way more pleasure out of sitting outside, enjoying summer sun and fresh air.   Even watching outside life through the window.  And instead of wondering about each little twinge or ache, I frequently celebrate when sometime is only a 1” or a “2”  or when nothing is bothering me.

Yes, I’m alive and kicking!
Clarke Edward, Survivor

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by vic777 on Aug 20, 2020 4:04 pm

Hey Clarke‍ 

I'm with you!  I'm trying to just enjoy the moments, sometimes with nature or sometimes with my crazy furry cat, Timmy.  I am also quite depleted after my treatments and recently have found out that in the process I have fractured my spine in two places.  Because of that, I am told to not bend, not lift anything and get rid of my cat!  Of course, I told the doctor that the latter wasn't happening.  Anyway, I know that I am trying so very hard to adjust to my  limited life but find it extremely lonely and sad. But at the same time, I also try to remind myself that I am alive and sort of kicking.  I also have archers now, one on each level and I had to buy one of those crazy dustpans that allows me to sweep something up without bending, who Knew?  My chropractor who  has also become somewhat of a friend was ribbing me by saying, yes, you need to look at the old people stuff!  I'm 68 but this of course has so suddenly pushed me into old age-obviously I have osteoporosis which is why my spine fractured getting on or off one of the dreadful MRI or CT scan machines.

Anyway, you keep on trucking as they say and keep enjoying those rays of sunshine.


Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Lianne_Moderator on Aug 20, 2020 4:43 pm

Great topic MCoaster‍ !

I have enjoyed reading all your responses. Kuching‍  I don't think I heard the "I don't buy green bananas anymore " until last year. Isn't there a book called that too? I know there is a song by Jake Owen called that.

For me, after my own cancer diagnosis and that of 3 of my family members, and now even reading our member's stories day in and day out I really try not to sweat the small stuff. Sounds cliche but when I get wrapped in something I will stop and ask "how important is this and is it a help or hindrance to my mental health" Often the answer is to drop it. I also definitely eat better and exercise more but not sure if I would have to come to that naturally without cancer. I don't have the luxury to find that out ; )
Having said that, I swore when I was bald I would never complain about a bad hair day again and i often still do - but I'm working on it

Look forward to hearing from more members


Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by WestCoastSailor on Aug 21, 2020 1:30 pm


Great topic! And a great day for it. Kuching‍ , your sense of humour slays me. Not quite at the green banana stage of things. Besides l like my bananas on the green side of ripe. I was at Costco the other day and definitely did not buy the toilet paper package because i would never get through it, thinking my heirs would have to dispose of it. I did buy the 100 pack of puppy pads though. My fourteen year old cat can't keep it in the litter box any more for some reason and the puppy pads make for easy clean up. Trying to decide if I buy the big thing of Kirkland laundry pods or just go with a few at a time.

Probably the single biggest change is making time for people. Relationships have become like gold to me. I always seem to have time to share a story or listen to one. I can hear pain in people's voices more easily than I have in the past and empathizing with them gives me a sense of purpose.

I have always eaten well with my motto of variety and moderation. By the way does anyone know what to do with the cheap cactus pears I picked up the other day? I had one raw and found the seeds a bit big and chunky to enjoy though the flavour was very unique.

@kuching come join me on the 3 day novel writing contest. Write part of your memoir as fiction. Use the pressure of a deadline to get things done.


My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Kuching on Aug 21, 2020 2:29 pm

WestCoastSailor‍ , You talked me into it.  Maybe having to try and write 100 pages in 3 days will take my mind off the scanxiety that I’ll be feeling at that time.  Thanks for the nudge!

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by vic777 on Aug 21, 2020 3:32 pm

Hi Angus,

I just wanted to say that your saying relationships are like gold to you was such a warm and fuzzy thing to say.  Just loved it.  Some things people have said on here make me cry and some bring this big broad smile to my face.  And some, just make me rethink some of my own emotions or thoughts.  Cancer has without any doubt changed me and done it in a way that I never could have imagined. Despite my having been a caregiver to my mother, my sister and my partner I thought that I understood so much about cancer but having it is just a whole other thing.  One of the things I clearly do differently is that I suddenly question whether to buy something long term,  i.e.renew my license for 1 year or 2?  Renew a subscription or not, etc.  I find myself (I am stage 4 lung cancer)  feeling that making it short term means I'm  giving up or something, so I go for the long term and for the first time in my whole life , I say screw trying to save a dollar.  Its quite clear to me that my kids are not going to hesitate about spending it, so why should I?  Just saying.  Anyway, again Angus, thanks for some lovely words.

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Essjay on Aug 22, 2020 11:18 pm

Great topic - thanks for starting it MCoaster‍ 

There are some practical things that have changed for me post cancer treatment - my colon requires daily consideration, and I never know what my hands and feet are going to feel like, or what they are going to need - they are little reminders of what I’ve been through but I go through some daily actions to tend them.

My attitude to life has changed - I try to be more grateful for the life I have, the people in it, the things I am able to do.

I try to listen to my body more - partly because I am aware I need to learn what’s normal for me to know if something is different. But Also because I now appreciate my own self more. I’m also more tolerant of my own limitations and those of my partners, and others...

We are both getting older and we both have physical limitations but we try to do the things we enjoy together.

We are just back from some time unplugged in the mountains. Carrying everything we needed on our backs. My feet were troublesome on 3 out of the six days and my partner was having foot issues and then he sprained his ankle, so it wasn’t all plain sailing. However, the freedom, the amazing feeling of being so high up, having got there under our own steam gave us a great buzz. It was great not to think about cancer for a while and to feel so alive...

Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by KerriKerri on Aug 23, 2020 11:22 am

For me, not a whole lot changed; the big changes were 9 years ago when I retired and then again almost 3 years ago when I moved here.

I spent the first 6 years of retirement travelling mostly; when I finally settled in here, it was to a different lifestyle entirely so I made sure that it was a healthy as possible. I've always lived a fairly 'no frills' life, but the focus has been on making this move the best possible as I expect I will go from here to a Long Term Care facility, unless I die before that. Some of the tenants have lived here 20 years!

About 18 months ago, a few months after I purchased my walker, I started a YouTube channel to promote getting assistive devices for safety and better lifestyle. I record my outings with a camera on my walker and then post them. I bogged down a couple times; the last time it happened I had just started to get going again  after months of inactivity when cancer and covid hit at the same time.  It kind of put a crimp in things. 

I had 11 Episodes up; since the reboot I've posted another 3. I have about 10 or so to edit and I am making them retrospectives because virtually none of the upcoming events are on this year because of covid.I have ideas for about 30 more episodes.

Basically, this is a creative outlet for me. I'm an information junkie. I love to learn. I love to experiment. It's what keeps me going. Cancer was a bit of a setback but if nothing else, it has pulled me out of the dumps and has me creating again. A few cheerleaders to remind me that I have a bit of an effect on the world and I am happy, pretty much; me and my 17 subscribers. lol.

The biggest thing the channel has done is it has engaged me intellectually, creatively, and gives a sense of purpose not unlike that which my job as Programmer/Activation in LTC gave me. It's not the most technically savy production; I am learning from scratch. The light bulb moments come infrequently, but every once in a while, a procedure becomes second nature and I get a feeling of accomplishment.

Four Tea Two is the title. Admins can remove it not allowed. If you decide it's worth it to go looking, please be kind. I really had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I am getting better at faking it. lol! 

Who knows? With all the stories that people in here have, perhaps it will encourage some here to make the leap to YouTube!

Does anyone get the joke behind the title?


Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by kioma on Aug 24, 2020 9:52 am

I've put my priority in my relationships.  Mainly it's getting rid of the more toxic ones. More precisely, the more toxic ones that have been ignoring/disrespecting my needs have been given the final outright truth of what my feelings were in a very blunt manner.  Life has been peaceful without them in my life.  I am now looking optimistically at the potential of getting my tribe together of like minded people.  I am beyond the point of having to deal with the bs that many people dish out.  I want the quality of friendships in my life.

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Boby1511 on Aug 25, 2020 7:28 pm

What’s changed? I’m retired at 47... eating... health kinda dictates that one... I try to stay as busy as I can... I appreciate my people more.. been reading. Trying a little exercise... cards more. I try not to focus on dying. 

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Aug 26, 2020 10:38 am

Kuching‍  - on the topic of sock knitting. I watched my grandmother make pair after pair after pair of socks when I was growing up. I tried them in my 20s and said, “no way.” I didn’t knit socks again until after she passed away and my Dad said he’d worn out almost all the socks Grandma had made him. I picked up my needles and Dad became my first “sockworthy guy.”

Dad passed away two months ago today. I am still looking for my second sockworthy guy, The man I’ve been with for the last 6 years is wonderful, but his size 9 feet have a ways to go yet before they can fill my Dad’s size 6 socks.

My last sock knitting memory was the beautiful pair I had on the needles when he went into hospital. I finished the second sock at his bedside and the nurse helped me put them on him. They had to take them off the next day because they were concerned about him “overheating” but he got to wear them and he had them in time for his last Father’s Day.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Aug 26, 2020 1:11 pm

Essjay‍ Sorry to hear about the mishaps you and your partner had on your trip, but if that one photo is anything to go by, the views were certainly worth the effort!

Even though I wasn’t “the patient,” I did a lot of things differently because of cancer. I’ve been single most of my adult life, and never had dependents, so becoming a caregiver was a HUGE change for me! I had only been retired 18 months when my mom passed away. Two months later, my Dad got his diagnosis, and I stepped into the caregiving role. Now that it is over (Dad passed from a different ailment earlier this summer), the role has switched to executor. When THAT is over, I’ll be able to go back to my “first 18 months” status, but the way cancer has affected me probably means that it will be very different from when my parents died. For one thing, I will never call “2903” again. When I say that, it isn’t about the physical action of dialling the number, it’s the knowledge that I will never talk to my folks again. That’s a big change that comes out of that one very small ritual.

My foray into gratitude started in 1995, after a relationship ended. I heard about keeping a “gratitude journal” on a TV show, and thought it might be a good way of rebuilding my self-esteem, which had suffered greatly. It made a huge change in improving my outlook on life, and now, I express gratitude every day in as many ways as I can. Various authors - from Louise Hay to  Marie Kondo - prescribe practicing gratitude in tiny little ways every day. If you’re throwing out an old purse, thank it for being so useful to you and giving you a safe place to store your money, is an example from Marie Kondo. Louise Hay says to thank your food for nourishing you, thank your car for safely getting you to all the places you wish to go, and thank your home for giving you shelter.

And, of course, per my last post, my knitting repertoire will be absent of socks. 
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Kuching on Aug 26, 2020 3:32 pm

Cynthia Mac‍ , I love your sock story.  I also learned to knit from my grandmother, who actually had a knitting shop in Glasgow.  But I always did afghans and stuff, thick wool and fat needles.  This sock thing is something else.  To make matters worse, I’m knitting them with a separate big toe (or at least I think I am), so I can wear them with flip flops.  I thought it would be therapeutic, but so far it’s just frustrating!  But I did get some really crazy wool, all different colours and sparkles.  I’m much too old to be fashion conscious.

Re: What do you differently because of cancer?

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Aug 26, 2020 4:14 pm

Ooh, Kuching‍ - your Grandma was Glaswegian? That’s where my Laddie’s from, too!

If funky yarn makes knitting socks more enjoyable, DO it! They’re so boooring...
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying