I was just looking at my Facebook memories. I love those! I find myself posting things I want to remember to Facebook now so that they will show up in my memories in the future. Am I the only person who does that?

Today, in my memories, was a quote from Abe Lincoln. It stirred me enough to consider using it as a topic for my blog entry.

Ol’ Abe is credited with saying, “I have found that most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.

What do you think? Do you agree? I do. wet-daisyIt’s been raining here lately. A lot. I have heard some complaining going on about the weather causing cancellations.  I understand. Some of my plans had to be changed due to the weather, too.

But, instead of mourning the activities that I can’t do because it is too wet, I thought of things that I can do. For instance, I needed to work on this blog! I wouldn’t have had time if I had been at agility class with my dogs instead. And, not only that, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to grab my camera and go outside to capture some pictures.

I was hoping to capture some nice raindrop photos, but those didn’t turn out very good. On the flip side, I really liked the way the poor little drenched flower picture turned out.

sunny-daisyThis plant has brought me joy throughout the winter and now into the spring. It is just a wildflower of some kind that made its home in one of my flowerpots. But it has blessed me with big yellow blossoms throughout the seasons. When everything else was dormant and brown, it brightened my day with its big yellow blooms every time I walked outside.

It is a prolific bloomer. That’s probably because it is considered by many to be a weed, since it sometimes grows in places where it has not been invited. It has learned to adapt to all kinds of situations and to make the best of them.

I see a correlation to our lives in how my little weed grows and thrives. From the moment I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, my husband and I agreed that we would continue to live life to the extent possible the same as we did before we got that news. We decided that we would put as happy a face on the whole experience as we could, mainly because we didn’t want to unnecessarily worry our only child or my mother, who had already lost two husbands to cancer, one of them to lung cancer at the young age of 49.

I have already told in a previous blog about asking my oncologist, on my very first visit, if I could continue doing agility with my dogs. That was the only question I had. Whatever the treatments were going to be was beyond my control. But what I did with my life was still very much under my control, or I hoped it would be!

My doctor was amazed when he would ask if I had gone to agility practice or to a weekend agility trial and I said yes. He was even more amazed when he watched a video of us running around a course. (This is a recent video, not one from right after I was diagnosed.)

When people talk about their “new normal” after their cancer diagnosis, I do not totally relate. I do not feel that I have given up my “old normal.”

But maybe that’s a mindset? It isn’t, perhaps, that I can do everything I could do before my cancer diagnosis and treatments. I have chemo brain. If something doesn’t make it to my calendar, it won’t happen! I have to go to treatments every two weeks and have scans every three months. My energy levels are not the same as they were. I have to rest. I usually take a nap.

What I could accomplish in one day before cancer, might take me a week now. I don’t think of how long it might take. I concentrate on the fact that I can still do it.

A question was posted recently on a forum about how a person gets back to “happy” while living with cancer. Those of us who are content with where we are in life, despite our cancer diagnoses, all had similar attributes.

1. Rather than resent or resist changes that have accompanied our illness, we have found ways to work around them. For instance, I make lots and lots of notes, because my brain no longer retains a thought for very long. I use a calendar to help me remember upcoming events that I don’t want to forget. And I give myself a break. If I do forget something, it usually isn’t the end of the world. I just try to do better the next time. 2. I do as much as I can. And when I just don’t have the energy to do any more, I rest. I push myself. I have found that the more I make myself do, the more I am capable of doing. But I know my limits, and I honor them. 3. I look at all of my life’s blessings. When I was too fatigued to do anything at all because of my chemo treatments, I developed a couple of new hobbies. I began feeding the birds in my backyard. And I would sit outside, watching them and listening to them sing. And, pretty soon, I started taking pictures of them. birdie4. I have been given so many opportunities since I was diagnosed with cancer that I never would have had otherwise. I wouldn’t be doing this blog, I would not have gotten to take a lot of trips I’ve been blessed to take, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet some of the nicest people in the world, other cancer survivors.

My life is so rich and full. Yes, I have cancer. But it has done nothing if it has not taught me to look at all of life’s many blessings and to appreciate them like I never have before. Like Abe said, you can be as happy as you want to be, regardless of your circumstances.

Hating cancer, loving life,

Donna Fernandez

Owner of blogspot, MyBattleWithLungCancer