Kate G
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Diary of a "Fake" Cancer Patient - Living for the moment or living IN the moment ?

Kate G
Posted by
01 Jul 2014

One of the things that I have struggled with most since my diagnosis is the fact that I cannot plan for the future because I simply don’t know how my health is going to be. Ok there will be “markers” for a potential deterioration in my health (increase in B symptoms, weight loss for no reason, unexplained bruising & the obvious giveaway of an increase in the size of my tumours) but as a “planner”, aka control freak, it’s not easy to just accept my condition & to roll with it. Having said that, if I do is to accept that what is happening is completely out of my control, there is a big risk that I will just exist in the here & now, fail to take pleasure in living & let my condition rule everything. And where is the enjoyment in that life??

So what’s the alternative? I have recently discovered “mindfulness” which in layman’s (i.e. Katespeak) terms is a rather lovely way of fully appreciating everything about the moment – what I can see, smell, hear or even taste. It’s almost like a meditation, since by emptying the mind it’s possible to fully appreciate that second or minute for what it is. I slipped into mindfulness when I was walking Meg the other day – it was the most glorious quiet Sunday morning, the air was fresh & the scenery was beautiful. I stopped for a second to take it all in, recognising that at that moment it just felt great to be alive! I had been feeling a bit low that weekend but suddenly everything changed & I finished my walk feeling absolutely on top of the world. For a short while, cancer ceased to exist for me, & it lifted my mood for the rest of the day…

I think what I’m trying to say is that mindfulness helps me to get things in perspective – in other words, it reminds me about what is so great about life & why just existence is not an option for me. It’s also a fantastic way to relax, to get off the emotional roller coaster of watch & wait & almost to “re-boot” myself, by remembering what is important to me – family, friends, that my health at the moment is largely stable & the fact that I wake up every morning! It’s definitely worth taking time out like this periodically, especially for those of us for whom the challenge is currently predominantly mental. I write & speak regularly about the psychological challenges faced by cancer patients & this is a great way to free up the mind from dwelling on personal worries & learning to live in the moment.

Comments

01.07.2014

Hi Kate,

Loving this subtle switch in mind-set which seems to be really helping you. I try and live by the same mantra although don't always succeed. As long as you don't lose sight of the here and now and appreciate the present however that may be, the future will take care of itself.

Anonymous
01.07.2014

Hi Andy hope all is well with you ? Thanks as always for your comments which are very much appreciated & I totally agree that although it doesn't always work it's a really good abiding principle & for me anyway a bloody good starting point for each day
Thanks again,
Kate :)

Anonymous
04.08.2014

I 'discovered' mindfulness a year or so ago and it helped me so much. Thank you for sharing your experience xx