Northampton Press

Monday, April 23, 2018

The perils of cancer treatment

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by The Press in Opinion

My strong advice to anyone going through chemotherapy treatment, or about to go through it, is listen to professional advice and heed any research you may uncover.

I finished my second chemotherapy treatment Oct. 4. I personally didn’t think the treatment varied much from the first until a few days later.

Rather than try to be as active as I possibly could, much of what I did involved sleeping a great deal. The excess sleep ultimately led to a short hospital stay — luckily, a stay of only a few days.

My next chemo treatment occurred Nov. 1. Did I know what to expect? Yes. Do I still have questions and concerns like any human person? Yes.

Despite those questions, based on the second treatment, I pushed myself to be more active in and around the area. Many diseases may hinder a person’s strength, but the person suffering or battling back has the opportunity to utilize whatever energy he or she has for beneficial physical and mental purposes.

I’ve recently discussed with a few individuals I know that 30 consecutive radiation treatments were simply a breeze compared to chemo. I often wondered about those going through the chemo treatment process, asking myself how they harbor the physical and mental energy to move forward.

My answer is simple: They embrace each day with a positive attitude.

It’s easy to say fight back or give up; however, to practice that saying is an entirely different approach. It requires the individual to put the saying into more than just a mental belief. That person must turn the positive thought process into physical action.

Although a disease may bear pain to the person suffering, physical activity is healthy.

My experience with cancer is certainly a lifelong lesson. It’s one requiring a host of tests and treatments, as well as looking at each day as it comes.

Days are different for us all, but I strenuously believe a disease like cancer should and will result in a different outlook on life — one that is either bright or dark. I chose bright.

I haven’t met an individual battling cancer or one who has beaten it who is not the most generous, appreciative and hopeful person. Their smile and positive approach toward life continue to impress me beyond measure

It’s those individuals who have positively influenced me and continue to do so.

I’ve also been highly impressed and moved by those who have and continue to offer a helping hand to me. Without their unwavering assistance, life would be far more difficult.

My recommendation to anyone going through any cancer treatment is rather than be overpowered by the tiredness and disease, get up and get active. You’ll feel so much better, physically and mentally.

The physical activity will allow you to experience the beauty and power of each day that comes before you.

Look at the sunrise and realize you are alive and breathing. You have another day to make a positive difference in this world. That’s what I did this Thanksgiving Day. I was grateful to be alive and have family and friends helping and encouraging me. Gratitude and life are certainly interwoven.

I proceeded onward to my fourth chemo infusion Dec. 1. Bring it on, I repeated to myself — bring it on!