Sunday, April 03, 2005

Good things can come from cancer too

On 4/2/2005 Susie in Oregon posted...

Hi Everyone,
I was wondering if anyone has experienced POSITIVE things from having cancer? I have. I have only just realized it lately. I'm getting ready for my second year in the Relay For Life with my sister leading the way like last year. We had never been close until I got cancer. I lost my father when I was nine and my Mother has recently had colon cancer and is doing wonderful at 78!

This year in the relay I will be walking the survivor lap with my sister, daughter, son-in-law and new grandson all hand in hand:) I will buy luminaries for all my GISTMATES and will be thankful for Gleevec and all the support and love I have received and hopefully given as well. I am thankful to report that I seem to be tolerating the higher dose of Gleevec in the past few days and am thankful for that also.

With all the fears we have all been posting, and believe me, I have my share, I just thought of all the good things too. I hope you all have the same kinds of feelings and are comforted by them. My best wishes to all who fight and keep trying to do the best they can,
Susie

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Pam responded...

Dear Friends,
I was very moved by Susie's letter because I can really relate to what she is saying. At the end of July I will be on adjuvant Gleevac for two years. At that time I believe I will go off the medication. Of course this could change depending on (1) what information, if any, is made available about the adjuvant trials and (2) what my gut says at that point. For me the Gleevac has been my saving grace. I have this sense that the cancer will stay away as long as I'm on the Gleevac. This has no basis in scientific anything, just a way for me to go from day to day without being paralyzed with fear. When and if I go off of Gleevac my feelings will probably change, but I'll deal with that as it comes.

What struck me about Susie's letter is that positive things have also come out of my diagnosis. First of all I know that Gist can come back at any time ( I'm at high risk because of a large tumor and high mitotic rate). So I don't believe that I have all the time in the world to do the things I want. The disease caused me to retire from a job that was very stressful and led me to do something I've always wanted to do. I now have a private practice as a Counselor. I love it!!! The disease allowed me to be there for my brother during his last difficult months. The disease allows me to be available to help my elderly in-laws with medical appointment and various kinds of support. Maybe more importantly, this disease has shown me how blessed I am to have my husband, my girls, my family and friends in my corner. I hope I don't sound too Pollyannaish. I have moments of despair, anguish and self-pity too. But the bottom line is I'm alive!!

Thank you my cyber friends for the warmth, caring and concern you show for each other. That is probably the greatest blessing of all.
Pam L.

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