Then Things I’ve Learned While Undergoing Treatment for Cancer

1. I have a positive outlook. I must have, because that’s what everyone tells me. Of course my outlook is probably influenced by the fact that my doctor expects me to make a full recovery. The fact is, I simply do what I’m told to do.

2. Many people love and care about me. They really do. I can tell by the outpour of calls and notes and visits. I’m grateful to have my Significant Other in my life. He looks after my health and wellbeing.

3. I don’t consider myself a victim. I’ve never asked myself “Why me?” I’ve too many friends and know too many people who were diagnosed with cancer and are leading full, cancer-free lives. Yes, some have died of the disease, but so have people died of heart disease, war, and in car Accidents.

4. Thank God I’m a writer. This gives me a variety of things to concentrate on, to keep my mind occupied when I’m too weak and feeling too woozy to do much more than sit at a computer. Somehow, taking care of my writer-ly activities doesn’t zap my strength as walking up a flight of stairs will do.

5. I’m surprised that many medical people who treat me are impressed Marilyn Levinson's Blog when they find out I’m an author. They tell me the type of books they enjoy reading and are happy when I give them a bookmark featuring some of my novels. I’m not used to this. More often people I meet are eager to tell me their sister-in-law’s sister wrote a book, or did I know their neighbor who’s often on the Best Sellers List. I can’t do a fraction of the promotion I’m “supposed” to be doing while I’m in treatment, but I’ve discovered a new readership

6. The side-effects of my treatment are cyclical. I feel well the six days I’m in the hospital, and then it’s downhill until the Neulasta shot takes effect a week or so later. I’m strong for a few days, then it’s back to the hospital. Also, I feel differently after each bout of chemo and after each Neulasta shot. The pain level varies. I’m never sure how bad the side effects will be.

7. I’m not upset about losing my hair. I think I would be if I had long, thick locks instead of short, rather fine, hair that’s really salt and pepper under an ash brown coloring. I wear my wig when my S.O. and I go out for dinner. It looks great, but I feel like I’m wearing a hat.

8. People feel comfortable asking me about my treatment. I suppose it’s because I’m open about my condition and don’t regard it as something to be kept secretive and under wraps. I’ve no problem answering their questions.

9. Because I’ve always been healthy, I still find it astounding that at times I’ve no energy, and I’m panting after going up or down my staircase. I feel decadent watching TV during the day, but sometimes that’s what I have to do.

10. I’ve had to learn to accept help from caring friends. I’ve always been independent, but during treatment I’m unable to carry out activities like cleaning the kitty litter and driving the long distance to my doctor’s office. Right now my treatment seems to go on and on. I’m missing parties and luncheons, outings and meetings. I look forward to the future when I’ll be healthy once again and can resume the activities in my life.