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serious illness 
Started by linda*
22 Dec 2015, 7:23 PM

sigh.  I am living with a serious illness;  I have cancer, my condtion is terminal, my treatment is termed palliative.  I'm at home and I still feel good but I'm considering the fact that this may well be my last christmas . . . my thinking is tempered by the recollection of a news item a few years ago, where a young exchange student with earphones was walking down the street in canmore and a helicopter above him developed some sort of problem and fell out of the sky and landed on the him . . . barring having a helicopter fall on me, my expectation is to be here for a while yet but this may well be my last christmas and I'm thinking my son and his wife & kids who live far away might feel bad if they knew.  sigh2.  
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Reply by KathCull_admin
23 Dec 2015, 1:17 AM


Welcome Linda* I am glad you found us. I do wish that your situation was different.

The group of people living with serious illness and sharing on our forums is quite small. But  it is helpful to walk with others, speak frankly about fears and hopes, and to share the trials and joys at this time. 

Does your son know how serious your illness is? I imagine it could be hard to have such an important conversation when he and his family are far away. I am just thinking he might want to have information to make good decisions and to talk honestly with you. 

Although this thread 
Your legacy ~ What to leave behind for your loved ones?has not been active since 2012, I thought you might be interested in some of the thoughts other members have posted. 

I am interested in your 'sigh' so I looked it up:) One definition is: "a long, deep, audible exhalation expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling." Does one of those feelings fit best for you?



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Reply by Carlyn
23 Dec 2015, 1:38 AM

Dear Linda*, 

I'm joining in with Katherine in welcoming you. 

I'm sorry you've received a terminal diagnosis. Reading the linked thread Katherine provided is a good idea i'm going to check also.

Meanwhile, some food for thought just in case it helps. I don't know if it will but leaving it here just in case for you to consider and weigh with deciding who to tell and when.

We found out our Mother had stage 4 cancer just before 2006 holiday season. A sibling hosted an annual festive holiday party at home. it was poor timing perhaps but it ended up they got the news about mom on the day of their party, two weeks before Christmas. We are no worse for it today and I believe they had the party anyhow. That turned out to be Mom's last Christmas and we preferred knowing over not knowing. It's up to you though I think, what you feel most comfortable with personally. Every one of us is unique and our families are as well. 

It's never easy to give this news and i'm sure whenever you want to share it, that will be the right time. What matters mostly just now, I think, is what you want and how you want to go forward. 

It's good that you found us. This is a very caring, safe place to share concerns, thoughts, plans, whatever you feel like writing and sharing.

I'm keeping you in my thoughts. You're not alone. Even if you don't tell anyone close to you for a bit, you've reached out to us now and we are here for you.


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Reply by linda*
23 Dec 2015, 1:46 PM

thank you, katherine & carlyn, for your kind responses to my message.  
I was feeling lonely. I guess the fact that it's christmas family-&-friends time adds something to the intensity of thought.  I am OK with my diagnosis/prognosis.  I see LIFE as a terminal condition and I count it a blessing to have this time to be aware.  

my kids know I have cancer and they know my treatment is palliative and they know I'm still feeling good and they have busy lives and young kids.  my life is good. I am content to be away from them and to skype to share experiences (altho I miss hugs) but I think my son will be regretful when real visits are no longer an option.
I have a friend whose mother died this year and he has mentioned repeatedly repeatedly how sorry he is he didn't spend more time with her.  I don't want my son to be sorry for anything.

other people don't know.

all those ideas for a legacy - I do envy people's creativity.  I have spent the past few months sorting thru papers and pictures and stuff, putting stuff in labelled tubs . . . 

this would be a sigh to exhale a bit of sadness.

thanks again for being there.
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Reply by Carlyn
23 Dec 2015, 3:56 PM

Linda*, i'm really glad you connected with us here. 

Your words resonate with me, reminding me of my own Mom. She was similar to what you've just said, in all those ways. Even life being a terminal condition...personally relate to that as I share your view. 

An enduring regret for me is that during my Mom's palliative care, I didn't hug her more. I followed her lead. If she wasn't emotional, I kept my emotions at bay because she had enough to deal with. And our Mom had this stoic reserve, yet was so loving and caring. But she would easily sacrifice her needs and wants for her kids and grandkids, without fail. What you wrote reminds me of that same reserve, being strong to spare kids, thing. 

If it feels right, during one of your skype sessions or in email, express to your son that you feel like this may be your last holiday season. And that you miss hugs. And then leave it with him to see how he decides to respond. And if he wants to be all up in your life and hugging you, let him... ? Yes/no? :-)

Unless it makes you really uncomfortable I mean. Dignity is #1 and not to be dismissed but I struggle in how to balance that without getting into regrets sometimes... I don't know...

Now about this business of sorting bins ... that's awesome but they'll still be there after the holidays right? What are you doing to bring some happy into your holiday? Or are you totally not into that mind set so far?

Cancer is not fun but you feel good so do you feel like talking here about your favourite things? What is your favourite holiday movie, or do you have more than one, or have no favourite? Are you going to watch it this year? Do you have any favourite things you want to share or talk about?  We don't have to - absolutely no pressure. 

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Reply by linda*
24 Dec 2015, 1:54 PM

what I am discovering is that it's important to have something to do. 

cancer is not fun but it has led me to a healthier lifestyle, oddly enough.

I practise trying to keep a sense of balance - I've learned that we choose our misery. 

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Reply by KathCull_admin
24 Dec 2015, 6:56 PM

Hi Linda*
Some years ago a friend told me she felt most alive "when I found out I was dying".  Thanks for that reminder to keep a sense of balance - always.

A question - not sure if it is clear and if not please let me know  (my husband used to say if it's a mist in the pulpit it will be a fog in the pew:) - do you think a time of intentional 'misery' could be/is helpful from time to time?

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Reply by linda*
24 Dec 2015, 7:12 PM

you might be talking about what I might call an intentional time of 'wallowing in self-pity'?

for me, that just happens sometimes.  then I have a good cry and start over.

I counter The Cry with The Laugh.  
that's part of the balancing act.
they're both therapeutic.
mostly I laugh a lot more than I cry, then I come back to trying to be balanced. 

do you speak from a pulpit? 
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Reply by Carlyn
24 Dec 2015, 7:55 PM

You two, Linda* and Katherine, are giving me a laugh which is probably inappropriate but I so enjoy it. The lighter side is necessary indeed at times but the balancing is a great help.

Also enjoying your words of wisdom. Taking notes. Future reference. I like to be armed and ready for life circumstances. 
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Reply by linda*
26 Dec 2015, 10:30 PM

about misery

- we choose our misery - 

the way I see it, we choose how we react to what life deals us.
we choose what we will dwell on.
we have notions of how things should be, or shouldn't be, or could be, and we try to hold on to what makes us feel good and we keep making comparisons of what could be or what could have been to what is. 
sort of.

that balancing act is no easy feat.

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