If I had the misfortune of being diagnosed with cancer, my first step, after discussing options with my doctor, would be to confront the idea of death. It is important to understand that everyone will die eventually. It’s a fairly morbid idea, but it is true. It may come from any number of unfortunate ways or it may come simply from old age. It is less important how we die than it is how we spend the time that we have. Death may last only a moment, but life is sure to last a lifetime. I think that, in understanding this, I would be able to better cope with my situation and face what would be ahead of me.
Second, I would research success stories; cases of those people who have been diagnosed with cancer and survived. I would focus on those cases of people who had lived through the same form of the disease that I had, but not limit myself to that. I would also branch out to more severe cases, if there were any. Many years ago I heard a quote in a movie that said “What one man can do, another can do.” I have carried that quote with me and it has become my mantra. It can apply to all aspects of life.
I might seek out and attempt to make friends with some of those people who had survived. I would need people that I could talk to when I needed it. I think that, sometimes, the best support you can have is from someone who completely understands your situation.
The third step that I would take would be to hire a nutritionist. I would set up a strict diet and exercise routine that would be acceptable with my condition. I would need to keep my body in tip-top shape in order to deal with my illness and I wouldn’t be able to afford to fight any other sickness at the same time. I have found, often times, that some small, and reoccurring illnesses clear up once the body isn’t using extra energy for digestion or simple mobility, if the body is out of shape.
Fourth, I would find a purpose. Without a reason to wake up in the morning, a person can wither away whether they are sick or not. Confronting and defeating my illness would definitely be one of my purposes. However, the progress of that goal fluctuates and that can sometimes affect motivation. What I would want is something separate from this cancer to live for; something that I can be happy about and make progress with even during the times that my fight isn’t going so well. I have quite a few things in my life that I want to accomplish. These goals would just take a higher priority. Once one goal was completed, I would find another to chase.
As I wrote this essay, I found that I could, and should, apply these steps to my life as it is now. So many times people don’t really evaluate their life until they think it is going to end. I have learned some valuable lessons while thinking over this topic and I hope that other people can benefit from it as well.
By: Barnett, Michael