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  • Writer's pictureBarb Demore

Thriving is My Goal--Laughter is My Medicine!

We often hear the words “cancer survivor.” Certainly, that is a positive phrase. However, as I continue to undergo treatments for metastatic breast cancer, I want to do more than merely “survive.” I want to thrive!

I was diagnosed with metastatic almost three and a half years ago, and I was initially devastated when we spoke with the doctor about my treatments. He made sure that I knew my condition is treatable but not curable. He wasn’t able to give me an answer about how effective the medications would be.

I have tried to maintain a positive attitude. I do not want to feel limited by my condition. Fortunately, I do not have any pain or physical limitations resulting from my condition. I continue to work out at the gym three times a week. I maintain a reasonably busy schedule. I play bridge twice a week. I enjoy lunches and dinners out with friends. I chair a cancer support group, and all of that fills up my schedule along with numerous doctor appointments. In between, I still enjoy cooking.

My husband and I love to travel. Covid caused us to be housebound for a couple of years as it did most people. We are fully vaccinated and boosted and have, in fact, had mild cases of Covid. However, in the past year, we have started to resume our travels. We recently returned from a two week road trip to visit family and friends that we haven’t seen due to the pandemic. Other trips are planned in the coming months. We look forward to flying cross country at Christmas to see our children and grandchildren – airline issues allowing that to happen!

I know that my circumstances could change at any time. I know I have to be careful. I continue to avoid large crowds in a confined setting. I will wear a mask if it seems advisable. I will most certainly continue to follow my medical mandates. But I will continue to be active as long as my condition allows. I will plan more travel. I will continue to enjoy outings with friends and family. I will do my best to help others through my support group.


How can I hope to do that given my diagnosis? Because I choose to!

I know my condition is not curable. I will have to take medicine for life. I will continue to have monthly appointments with my oncologist, as well as two injections at each visit. I will have quarterly scans to check my condition. I am fortunate that I do not experience side effects from the treatments that I get. I am very aware that while my condition remains stable now, that can change very quickly.

I cannot let any of the above circumstances overwhelm me. I cannot change the past. I don’t know what the future will bring. What I do believe is that I can control how I deal with the present.

I am blessed with a supportive family and a host of friends who are willing to do anything I ask of them. What I have learned is that I need to live in the present. Spending time with family and friends is always an uplifting experience.

There are times when those occasions are serious, even somber. However, those times are more often light-hearted and involve much laughter. I have learned that laughter is a great way to release tensions and take my mind off of my health issues.

I try to think of others who are in need of support. It helps me to know that I can help and encourage them to feel better – and maybe even get them to laugh a little. I have read that it takes far fewer muscles to smile than to frown.

And so I will strive to thrive as long as I can.

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