Sunday, March 13, 2011

FAQ - Part II

It's been just over 3 months since my last chemotherapy treatment and 2 months since I got the all clear from my oncologist. During my re-entry into life as I somewhat knew it prior to cancer I have run into a few other questions from friends and coworkers I didn't cover in FAQ - Part I that I thought we worthy of spreading to the Lift community.

4.) Did cancer make you more religious?
Short answer is yes, but let me elaborate...

I grew up going to Sunday school and church on a regular basis, but once I hit college I became more of the holiday type where I would grace the chapel on Easter and Christmas when I was home from school. I continued this trend once I graduated, but toss in friends' weddings, family baptisms, and the unfortunate funeral to my holiday schedule...

Once my wife and I had my son I ramped up the prayers when I was travelling on an airplane for business just in case something crazy happened.

I was always praying for someone else, rarely for my own sake.

When cancer hit it truly rocked my world and created an abnormal amount of self reflection. There were the "why me/now?" thoughts, which for me led to some lessons that framed my approach to my battle.

Very early in my treatment I realized that I wanted to use my situation to inspire others and enable people to learn the lessons I was learning without having to go through the ringer with chemo and all the other fun stuff that comes with cancer.

So what's this have to do with getting more religious?

I began to pray nightly for strength to overcome my own weaknesses and clarity of mind to efficiently make the highest impact decisions in my quest to lift others' lives. I continued to pray for others in my life that were battling disease, but I found that my inward directed prayers had an incredible impact on my state of mind.

Daily prayer has lifted my life for sure and I encourage others to not wait for a life changing event to get back in touch with what ever higher power you believe in.

5.) How are you doing?
Talk about an open ended question!!

It fluctuates on a daily basis, but for the most part I am getting along fine. I do tend to get lost in thought more frequently and find it hard sometimes to come to grips with the cancer scar I will have for the rest of my life.

I do occasionally fall back into old habits and sometimes even feel like I never had cancer in the first place if you can believe it!

A fellow Hodgkin's mentor told me it was easy to fall back on old habits, but that he wished he would have held onto the renewed sense of purpose he had once in remission. I think about that tidbit often!

Good news is that I am catching myself a lot quicker when my values are at stake and not compromising to other's view of the world if my core does not align with the message being communicated.

It's a long road back, but by living in line with my values I know it will be a great journey.


  1. Great FAQ! This site is fantastic.

    I recently had a traumatic event in my life and am struggling with how to answer the "How are you doing question". I can't tell if people ask because they care, they are nosy or just feel like they should! The bigger problem is how to answer everyone's questions without the shocking truth of healing or sharing too little with a "I'm doing well" line.

  2. Kathleen,

    I think we as humans have all "learned" what we "should" ask in times of trauma and often go through the motions in terms of comforting others. It is hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to comprehend what they are going through. I find there is often a "what if it was me" mentality and that results in some people being afraid to confront the fact that it could just as easily be them in your situation.

    I posted early on "The Score Sheet" about a technique I used in my battle to manage others' response to hearing I had cancer and was going through chemo. If you haven't already, give it a read!

    Know that you are in my prayers every night. I heard what happened to you from Ray and can only imagine what you are going through. One day at a time and you WILL get there.

    Take care,