What is life? Without a decent quality of life or the prospect of one, life certainly is not worth living. Health, happiness, money, friends, family and numerous other aspects all go into making up quality of life, but the overall feeling is far more important than any single factor. For cancer patients, one component that often totally destroys quality of life is the fear of death.
While we are all going to die someday, the fear of death is not only unnecessary but ruins life. How do we get rid of the fear? To suggest wishing it away is ridiculous. It can’t be done. But to understand how unnecessary and self destructive it is can lead to accepting the realities, facing them, and living a happy and contented life.
The minute a child is born, it is a known fact that the child will die someday. The only unknowns are when and how that child will die. Why have we not been overwhelmed with the fear of death until we were diagnosed with cancer? Because the diagnosis of cancer to many people makes the possibility of death imminent. Now that we think about that and realize that this situation is nothing new, we can reason with ourselves that nothing has changed about the fact that some day we will die, so we do not have to be afraid of death itself.
Instead of being afraid to die, we can narrow our fears down to being afraid of a relatively limited amount of time to live because of the diagnosis of cancer. That’s the problem and that is what we have to focus on.
If we concentrate on speculating on how little time we have left to live, we will eliminate any quality of life immediately. Therefore, whether we live a day, a month or 50 years, we will live without a quality of life, a life not worth living.
If we concentrate on the fact that we have lived a good life, we have enjoyed life and those around us, we have done our best, we have a truly good quality of life right now. That is all that matters. And in no way are we hurting our chances of the future. As a matter of fact, we are possibly helping our odds on survival, and survival with a quality of life.
Years ago I heard a wise prayer to the effect, “Lord, help me to accept the things I can not change, improve the things I have the ability to alter and have the wisdom to know the difference.” We can not change the fact that we are going to die someday so accept it. We can possibly alter the outcome of our illness so do everything in our power to fight and come out on the right side. Be certain you can check off every item in the last chapter of Fighting Cancer – Chapter 14 available free by calling 800-433-0464 or on this web site.
There are only three days to consider. First is yesterday. It is gone. Past. Nothing can be done about it. It is over. Let it go and forget about it. Next is tomorrow. It is not here yet. It will take care of itself. Do not be concerned about it. The only day to think about is today! Right now! That is what matters. Concentrate on enjoying today and life will be worth living. The tomorrows will take care of themselves.
If a patient is told the statistics of his disease, he should be reminded that he is a human being and not a statistic. He may have a stronger desire to live, may have greater support from family and friends, may have better medical attention, may have caught the problem earlier, may be in better physical condition than the average patient, so statistics do not apply to him.
To live a hundred years with no quality of life is pointless. It is existing, not living. To live today and enjoy it, to make the most of it, to savor it and appreciate it is all that matters. Drop that fear of dying and make today the only day that counts. Enjoy a true quality of life.