Cancer is a journey that no one ever plans to embark upon, but when life takes an unexpected turn, we have no choice but to navigate this challenging path. My journey began with a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that sent shockwaves through my world.
One of the biggest challenges I faced in my cancer journey was dealing with the limitations that this disease imposed on my life. It was a journey marked by unexpected restrictions on my body and lifestyle, and even though I knew these limitations were inevitable, they often caught me off guard. I found that getting angry or feeling sad about these limitations only added an extra burden on top of what I was already dealing with. It was a process of acceptance and adaptation that became essential.
I began by looking at my life and other limitations I experienced. Realizing that in reality, limitations have been a part of our lives from the very beginning. As children, our parents set limits on what we could eat, when we had to go to bed, what we could wear and where we could live. These boundaries were established out of love and concern for our well-being. They were meant to protect and guide us, much like the boundaries set in my cancer journey, of treatments, doctor appointments and testing, which aimed to give me the best chance of recovery.
As teenagers, our hormones can limit our growth, making us too tall or short. We have curfews, restrictions on which friends we can spend time with, and set schedules for attending school. It’s a time when we learn to rebel, test the limits, and push against the constraints surrounding us. Similarly, my cancer journey required me to go against the limits of my endurance, challenge the boundaries of my comfort zone, and find new ways to navigate life.
In our 20s, we face limitations related to income, job opportunities, and living arrangements. Parenting comes with its constraints as we juggle responsibilities and navigate the delicate balance between career and family. My cancer journey introduced me to a different set of limitations — those related to my physical abilities and energy levels. It taught me to find resilience in the face of adversity and to prioritize my health above all else.
In retirement, we have limitations related to our time and income. However, we also have the opportunity to savor the fruits of our labor and pursue our passions. My journey through cancer brought its own sense of retirement—a time to reflect on life’s priorities, cherish the moments with loved ones, and find joy in the simplest pleasures.
Despite these lifelong limitations, we manage to find happiness in life. We have adapted to our circumstances, finding ways to enjoy life despite the challenges. My cancer journey taught me that limitations are a natural part of life and that we can still lead fulfilling lives even with them. It has been a journey of self-discovery and resilience.
Cancer, with all its limitations, may have changed the course of my life, but it did not define my spirit. I have emerged from this journey stronger, more appreciative of life’s simple joys, and ready to face whatever challenges may lie ahead. Look back at your limitations during your life, how did you cope? Were you able to find some happiness despite those limits imposed on you? Use those same techniques during your cancer journey, and seek out joyful moments, knowing that these limitations you are now having to accept will pass. No matter where you are in life, there are limits, like childhood limits, teenage limits, young adulthood, parenting, and old age. Yet, we find joy.
This post was written and submitted by a CURE reader. The article reflects the views the author and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.
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