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Votes

The New Year, Same as the Old Year?

As I scan (no pun intended) my living-with-cancer horizon, my focus isn’t long term, nor is it short term. It’s somewhere between intermediate and immediate. I haven’t received any discouraging news, thank God!

I’ve just taken stock – as the new year approaches, and have to decide how I want to invest in my future, cancer-care wise. Are there changes I need to make to my diet? Is it beneficial to commit to – and buy – organic whenever possible? Can I even afford to increase my food expense that much or am I being penny-wise and extremely pound-foolish (narrow minded) by assuming that what’s kept me alive so long (relative to my original prognosis) is likely to continue to do so in the future – just because?

And ultimately – and most importantly, do I need to recommit to the many non-traditional methods I’ve employed to fortify my immune system and continue to fend off the ravages of cancer? And if I do so, will the stress of assimilating/modifying/indoctrinating “Royal Jelly,” as but one example, into a new routine, create yet another alternate universe for me to inhabit, the stress of which might upset the entire apple cart?

Moreover, is making – or even considering to make, any New Year’s resolutions likely to make me more resolute in my adherence to keeping Kenny-with-cancer alive and reasonably well? Or should I not give a hoot and try to find joy (meaning minimal stress; stress is the enemy in this fight) wherever I can and throw caution to the wind and let the cancer chips fall where they may? I want to live but I’m not sure I want to die trying.

I want to live my future by staying as true to my convictions as possible without neglecting alternative approaches, make that changes; changes which could possibly enhance/improve a diagnosis-to-date, above-average quality of life that I’ve been EXTREMELY FORTUNATE to live.

As Stella (Linda Hunt) said to Paden (Kevin Kline) in the classic Western “Silverado:” “The world is what you make of it friend, if it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.” So my continuing dilemma is: do I in fact make alterations or do I get back on the horse I rode in on – so to speak?

I want to be open to change, really I do, especially if it’s a change that might save my life. However, if that change creates new stresses in my life – the effect of which is particularly difficult for terminal patients, is the change worth it?

Is a maybe – with all its uncertainty and unknowns, worth the risk when the definite changes I’ve already made have gotten me so much further than one – or many, had initially anticipated?

I agree that change is good, healthy even; but in my circumstance, I wonder: Is it better? And I need better.

Given the fact that there are very few guarantees offered to stage IV non-small cell lung cancer patients, I see no tangible benefit to making any resolutions to change.

Firstly, I don’t need the additional pressure (pressure being the first cousin to stress) of having to do anything I don’t feel comfortable and committed to doing.

Secondly, having survived almost four full years from the date of my original diagnosis/prognosis doing what I’ve done, all I should feel is: that anything is possible. I’m living proof.