Recording Your Dreams

Colon Cancer Ribbon

Cancer--Preventable, Treatable, Beatable

In November 2008, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a total shock to me. There’s nothing like being smacked with your own mortality to get you thinking about life, faith, and the people who are important to you. With our 401K swirling the bowl in the crash of 2008, I started thinking what a privilege it would be to have to worry about retirement.  The idea of not having a future was unimaginable. (And as you know, I have a pretty good imagination!)

I was treated with surgery and my prognosis is excellent. (Thank you, God!) But I still visit my oncologist regularly for screenings to make sure the cancer hasn’t recurred. It takes 5 years before they use the word “cure.”

I recently received a request from Melanie Bowen about guesting on my blog about dealing with cancer. Since this disease touches so many people, I agreed to host her, even though my blog is usually given over to more light-hearted fare. I was pleased to see that her post is all about goals and dreams and forward thinking. If a cancer patient needs anything, he/she needs hope and Melanie offers it. So now without further ado, here’s Melanie:

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Take a step back and truly think about what do you want out of life and how can you be sure that you are going fit it all in? The truth of the matter is that there may be many things you want to do: however, unless you start planning them today, you are only holding yourself back from potentially reaching your dreams in the most efficient way possible. One of the best things that you can do for yourself is write down all of your hopes, aspirations and even emotions you need to sort out. Once you have written them down, you will have a personal and tangible reminder of what you want out of life.

Facing Problems

If you are dealing with mesothelioma or any other autoimmune disorder, you will find that no matter what your prognosis is, you might be feeling very nervous or upset all the time. Things may feel like they are spinning out beyond your control, and one of the problems that you may be facing is that it is getting harder each day to keep track of what you are doing. The goals that you have valued for so long seem further out of your reach than ever. However, before you begin to feel like your losing control, take a moment to catch these goals and write them down.

Process

4Therapy states that you should write down your goals and then write down a plan to how you will go about and achieve them. Think about potentially where you want the course of your life to go over the next 5-10 years. Even if it is hard to think that far ahead, force yourself to do so. Make yourself realize that you have a future and that there are things you want to do. If you are dealing with feelings of anger or resentment, this can be a difficult prospect; however, at the end of the day, it could be one of the most beneficial things you over ever done.

Be Whimsical

Remember that your goals are personal aspirations and while you can choose to make them public, you can also keep them personally to yourself. The spectrum of personal dreams can be endless Perhaps you want to go see other countries or maybe you want to write a novel. Maybe you simply want to serve your community or perhaps you would like to spend more time with your loved ones. Be as whimsical as you like in your goal planning, and write it all down.

Goals are an essential part of moving forward and getting on the right path in your life. If a diagnosis or illness has thrown you off course, remember that writing down your dreams can get you back on the right track again. Write down your dreams and your goals, whether you are doing it on paper or online, and choose the path that you have always wanted to be on.

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Thanks for sharing, Melanie. I’m a huge fan of writing down goals and dreams.

If you’re dealing with a health challenge, or any type of challenge for that matter, I hope this has been helpful to you. Please feel free to share your goals with me. I love supporting people who are chasing a dream.

5 thoughts on “Recording Your Dreams

  1. Cate S says:

    You have amazed me by your life choices.. congrats.. I would only hope that I could do something similar. Life is to be lived. Congrats to doing so. The bus comment is so very apt in this day & age.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      My hero in the upcoming TOUCH OF A SCOUNDREL is cursed with foreknowledge and it nearly paralyses him into inaction. I think it’s probably good that we don’t know what’s ahead. Each day is enough and we should dance while we can.

  2. librarypat says:

    Great post and so true. Unfortunately, cancer has reared its ugly head in our lives several times. My mother-in-law faced it twice (breast and colon) and won both times. My mother died at 47, exactly 4 weeks to the day after her diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

    Closer to home, my husband was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma in his left, upper jaw. At 46 with our oldest just starting college and our youngest in 3rd grade, it was a shattering diagnosis. This particular cancer location is rarely diagnosed until it is stage 3 or 4 and there was no option for treatment other than surgery. It was a fluke that they found it since there are no symptoms until it is too late for treatment. At the time, the survival rate past 5 years was less than 20%.

    When he found out, he came home, and we took a long walk where he told me the news. We both have a tendency to shut down and deal with things rather than go into an emotional response. We talked with the doctor and learned the surgery could result in the loss of part of his face, and the ability to talk and eat normally. Devastating news for an otherwise healthy active person.
    Initially, we did more looking back than looking to the future. It was rather comforting to realize there were few regrets on how we had lived our lives and what we had done. I think regret for what you haven’t yet done, choices made, and dreams unfulfilled can be as devastating as the diagnosis. It may be what destroys so many relationships rather than the inability to deal with the cancer. We tried to prepare for the worst and hope things wouldn’t be that bad. The surgery was performed by two young doctors just out of school (the joys of military hospitals) who were not specialists in the field. They didn’t even call in a plastic surgeon. He did loose half his palate and 4 molars and the adjoining jaw on the left side. They did an incredible job, and you can’t even tell he had surgery. He has a prosthesis to replace the jaw and palate and can eat and speak normally.

    After hoping he could survive long enough to see our oldest graduate from college, we are now looking at our 40th wedding anniversary this June. We have seen both our daughters married and grandchildren born. He celebrated his 20th “surgery anniversary” last Dec.5 and we look forward to many more. It does hang over our lives, but we refuse to let it interfere with living our lives and enjoying it. Yes he may be a bit more concerned about unexpected aches and pains, but he takes care of himself and goes for regular check-ups. There really isn’t anything else we can do. We refuse to let the threat of what could happen prevent us from getting on with our lives. You never know what the future holds. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow and it would all be over. It is not worth living your life in fear of what could happen. Enjoy the time you have and the future will take care of itself.

    I am sorry this was so long. I know many people have been in the same situation and everyone deals with it in their own way. Our way worked for us. Others may need more help dealing with it, and there isn’t a thing wrong with that. Finding a good balance is what is most important. Thank you for an important post.

    1. Mia says:

      Oh, Pat, don’t apologize for the length of your post. It’s a treasure trove of hope. Thanks so much for sharing. Please give your husband a hug from me.

  3. Mia Marlowe says:

    When I was first diagnosed, I realized quickly there were very few things I could control. But one of the things I could was my attitude.

    I looked for the humor in the situation. Colon cancer, believe it or not, does allow for some. I love the Ozzie commercials where he says his fantasy is to fly to NYC for a colonoscopy. I laughed till the tears ran the first time I saw it.

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