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Can Life Return to Normal After Cancer?

by Joe Lawrence October 27th, 2017 | Aging Well, Health Observance
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mother childMany people ponder this question at some point. The answer usually evolves into, “Why would I want to return to that ‘normal’?”

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen states it well as, “Cancer can shuffle our values like a deck of cards…the bottom of our deck turns out to be the top card.” Most breast cancer patients (and other forms) are knocked so far out of the daily grind they had fallen into prior to cancer, they have no choice but to reflect on life. When faced with possibility of dying, people receive many revelations about how they have lived.

Priorities of getting the corner office of the bigger house often rise to the surface as regret of lost time. Many realize that chasing the carrot on the stick has prevented them from looking at the green grass beneath their feet. I have not experienced cancer first hand and do not pretend to know what that experience feels like. I am only privy to the research and the many stories I have read. However, I do know what it is like to be away from my family. As an Airman, I have deployed and been away from my wife and children. Sitting in a tent in some desert location, forced me to look at the things I valued. What would I do first when I got home? I have never hugged my sweet daughter tighter than I did after stepping off that plane.

The feeling does not go away though. I will put off many things to spend extra time with the kids. I always said they are number one, but was I living that way? That is the reality patients face as they are going through the treatments and battling their disease.

In the movie Fight Club, there is a scene where Brad Pitt drags a convenience store clerk out to the back lot and threatens to take his life. As he goes through his wallet, he found an expired college ID. Young Raymond K. Hessel dropped out of college because becoming a veterinarian was too hard. Pitt’s character gave him the option of dying in the lot or going back to school. The scene ended with Pitt saying, “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life.”

When faced with death, the prospect of life becomes sweeter. There are stories galore of survivors tackling life goals only once dreamed of or overcoming fears that once paralyzed the owner by the simple thought. For example, there was a lady in the UK who feared heights and now is a hang-gliding enthusiast. There are those who would never speak in public, who now command audiences. The list goes on and it is a beautiful sight; seeing something as ugly as cancer turned around to a life reborn.

 

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.