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Living with Advanced Cancer

Posted 1/14/2015

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  For several years, I have written a regular column for the magazine, Cancer Today. This is available both in print and as a digital publication and always has a number of interesting and helpful articles. Today I want to share my most recent column with you. It tackles the difficult topic of living well (and, yes, that is possible!) with advanced cancer.

  I have a weekly support group for women who are doing just this, and it is usually my favorite part of the week. This is an extraordinary group of women who love and support each other in profound ways. This Monday we talked a lot about choices and finding happiness in daily life. I loved Carol's succint comments: "Just get on the bus. It is much better to regret some things than to do nothing and have nothing to regret."

  Everything I know about this challenge, I learned from them. Here is the start of the column and a link to read it all:

Living With Advanced Cancer
Make the most of your days despite the uncertainty that comes with metastatic disease.
By Hester Hill Schnipper

In the not-so-distant past, there were two ways to be living with cancer. The first was to be diagnosed, treated, and hoping to be done with cancer. The second was to be dying from a cancer that returned or was initially diagnosed as metastatic disease.

Today, blessedly, many patients with metastatic disease, which is also known as stage IV or advanced cancer, live a long time, even though their disease is not curable. These patients who are not completely healthy but certainly not dying from cancer anytime soon can find themselves in murky and uncharted territory.

Learning to live with terminal uncertainty, to make sound decisions for yourself and your family, and to maintain a balanced and mostly positive daily view are challenging goals. But, in the words of an old saying, “Nothing flies in the face of death like a life well lived,” and your most important goal should be just that: to live well.


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