I remember it like it was yesterday. It was five years ago, almost exactly. I was waiting with my wife, Sharon in her doctor’s office. After a brief conversation, he got to the point of the visit. (Click here for an audio version of me narrating this post over a bed of my original music).
“You’ve got cancer.”
Three words. It only takes about a second to say them. Then everything is different. And to make it worse, it wasn’t one of those, “we know how to fix it for you,” cancers. It was pancreatic cancer and that’s a bad one.
With those three words, everything changed. Everything got compressed into that damn disease with all it implied and all that had to be done to beat it.
Hearing that news is bad enough. Then you have to tell your family and friends. You can tell from the look in their eyes “things have changed.” Three more words we noticed.”
Treatments aren’t good for pancreatic cancer. Only a small percentage of people live two years, even with very intensive treatment.
One advantage of being an experienced doctor is that you can help your family navigate the healthcare system. You really need a guide these days to get through the healthcare maze.
What followed was a complicated story that’s too long to tell you here. But briefly, we looked at all our options, understood the risks and benefits, and chose a treatment plan that included some things old and some things new. It was different than many of her doctors recommended.
Sometimes you have to take in all the information and decide what works best for you.
In addition to knowing your options and getting the treatment that seems best for you, here are some things that helped Sharon and I believe they’ll help you.
- Stay positive – avoid negative people and negative information like too much nightly news, shows that are dark or sad, or other things that bring you down
- Listen to relaxing music – Sharon listened to the Sleep & Relax instrumental music that I wrote to help her relax, stay calm and sleep well.
- Get the right nutrition – each form of illness comes with special nutritional needs. Talk to a nutritionist or other knowledgeable person to help your body heal.
- Stay fit – our first walks were only a few hundred feet. But if you keep doing it, you won’t keep loosing muscles and will eventually build back to normal
- Stay social – reach out to friends and family and get the nurturing you need. It helps the healing and helps you achieve all the above tips. You can eat with friends, relax with friends, walk with friends and just stay positive.
After 5 years of treatments and scans, Sharon and I went back to see her doctor and sat in the office we’ve come to know. After a brief conversation, he got to the point of the visit.
“You are cured!”
Three words. It only takes about a second to say them. Then everything is different.
“I am grateful,” three more words I’ve come to appreciate.