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Public Group active 4 years, 9 months ago ago

A group for survivors. Tell your stories and discuss your plans.

Advice from long term survivors (7 posts)

  • Profile picture of rick rick said 5 years, 12 months ago:

    Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. ~Author Unknown

    So you’ve done your five years and you’ve been called a “cure”. Piece of cake, right? What’s on the other side? DO you think about it anymore? Was it worth it? So calling all 5 year survivors, let us know you exist and please any words of advice would be great.

  • Profile picture of Ann Bavaria Ann Bavaria said 5 years, 12 months ago:

    I am a 9 year survivor of Stage 3C ovarian cancer. And yes I think about it every day. I get up and thank God for the gifts of the medical team who helped me (Dr. Boulay and his team), God, and family and friends. But for me it’s a sad happiness. I went for my annual check up Friday and saw some very sick patients. It’s a reminder of how random chemotherapy is….it works for some but not for others. That tempers my happiness. OvCa research needs money so more women can be cured. For me, even before I passed the 5 year mark, I
    became more selfish with who I spend time with. I wish I knew what gave me better odds….. I did have lots of friends and family support. People brought food and my husband kept telling me to quit talking about the survivorship rate….he also said some people go beyond that 5 year mark and I pray every year more woman join that club!

  • Profile picture of Linda Fiorenzano Linda Fiorenzano said 5 years, 11 months ago:

    Hello Survivors,

    I am a passionate nine and half year survivor of Stage 1 Invasive Breast Cancer. I think about breast cancer every single day. I lost my Mom, at the age of 69, to the disease in 1998 and my sister to the disease in 2005 – one day after her 49th birthday.

    The only way I know how to survive is to believe everything in life happens for a reason; we’re just not always given the reason with the thing. This alone is what makes me passionate about surviving (all of life’s downturns, not just cancer). I make myself curious to find out the reason.

    I run a an informal cancer support group for women at all phases of their survival journey. I find that the best medicine is to share our feelings and let each other know we’re not alone. Sometimes, the fear of the unkown is what keeps us from living freely and if we share with others, we can reduce some of the fear.

    For me, I think about cancer every single day and, yes, it is worth it. I love to inspire others to survive life’s downturns with a passion.

    Blessings, Linda

  • Profile picture of Lyn Smith Lyn Smith said 5 years, 11 months ago:

    Another great quote Rick! As an almost 13 year survivor of CUP and, like Linda, also a support group facilitator, I tend to see things through both personal eyes, and those of the members of the group. Fear of recurrence is probably the one thing that mostly stops people from fully enjoying life regardless of what stage they are at. It is particularly difficult when another member of the group is rediagnosed, or we lose someone, as this makes everyone a little uncomfortable. Although I understand why they are needed, I honestly wish that there were no statistics [eg 5 year, 10 year] as I think this puts pressure on people that they really dont need. Why cant we just be a survivor?
    Ann, your comment about your mixed feelings when going for your checkup and seeing other patients who are not so well – I can relate to that – but I also believe that in some small way, we can inspire those people just by our presence sometimes. And your hubby is right about focusing on the survivorship mark. I was told I would not survive 5 years.
    Do I think about it anymore? Yes, I do – it is part of who I have become, the lthings I have learned and the wonderful people I have met, that without my diagnosis, I would not have had that opportunity.
    Was it worth it? I believe so, having cancer definitely changed my life in so many ways and taught me so much about myself, especially that I was a much stronger person than I ever thought, and capable of so much more. I now live and love my life.
    Important things I have learned along the way – that every diagnosis is unique to the person, not to make other peoples journey my own, knowledge really is power, and that once diagnosed, we share a bond that defies the understanding of healthy people.
    You cannot unring a bell, so begin by accepting the diagnosis, then act, start fighting and live the best life you can.
    Take care

  • Profile picture of rick rick said 5 years, 11 months ago:

    These beautiful words are from Karen and I thought fit nicely into this section.

    I am a 18 year survivor of AML leukemia. I saw a flyer about this site at a doctors office a few months ago. I had a scare with a possible uterine cancer diagnosis. Tests revealed precancerous cells so with my previous history I had a hysterectomy in Sept. Think this is a great site because when I was diagnosed years ago I knew of no survivors from cancer. What a Hope and Encouragement we can offer to people facing the same diagnosis. I contribute my survival to the modern medicine but also to God for getting me through the rough treatment and also for healing me not only of the Cancer but saved me from making some bad choices and leading me back into his loving arms.

  • Profile picture of rick rick said 5 years, 11 months ago:

    In our practice, our low risk patients are cared for by our nurse practitioners. THis is bittersweet for me because I tend to see those in the midst of the fight and chaos, during the most difficult and challenging part of their journey. And those who have been cured, I simply pass in the hall with a “Glad to see you doing so well”.

    As with everything in life there is a continuum. I see a dichotomy in long term survivors. Those who have “been there, done that” and those who have been so changed by their diagnosis that they simply must share the wisdom of their survivorship.

    The “been there, done that” crew are I think the bigger group. Cancer invaded their life, they figured out how to cope, and licked it. And for whatever reason, really do not like going back. For some it’s too painful, for others, too private. Others simply have moved on and with the business of life cannot seem to find their way back. Needless to say, the cancer diagnosis is now a distant memory and difficult to go back there.

    The other group, the “shout it from the rooftop” crowd, has been permanently changed by their diagnosis. Once they figure out their way along the journey, they want, or better put, need to share their wisdom. Whether an ear to listen, blogging, sites like this, fundraising, leading support groups, their passion of survivorship leads them to action. We’ve all seen them. They light up the room. And we all gravitate to them.

    Both ways are right for the individual.

  • Profile picture of Jeanne Angalet Jeanne Angalet said 5 years, 11 months ago:

    Just to add to the conversation, I am a 6+ yr survivor of Stage 4 colorectal cancer. It’s a whole different ballpark to live with cancer as a chronic condition. I am on my 5th course of chemo after 4 recurrences. Cancer rarely leaves my thoughts, there is often something that brings my mind back to the fact. And yes, I have changed priorities in my life, I no longer can work full time due to being in treatment more than out of treatment.
    Would I be content to never have had cancer and the life-changing awareness? YES, in a heartbeat.