Life Interrupted: When the Doctor Becomes the Patient

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But something surprising happened. For the first time since my diagnosis, I became aware of the fact that I was not alone in my fears and anxieties. Instead of feeling isolated in my experience with cancer, I began to realize there was an amazing community of people out there who were going through the same thing and could help me make sense of what was happening because they had been there themselves.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the stories of the other cancer patients, I felt empowered and inspired by their strength and bravery. Two of my closest friends are people around my age whom I met at the hospital. But knowing we can go there if we need to is invaluable.

I do regular mini-spring cleanings. What do I need?

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What can I put away in storage? It makes me feel better, even when cleaning tires me out. The way my surroundings look and feel has a big effect on my mind-set, especially when I am spending a lot of time resting in bed. I like to feel light. Cancer also forced me to declutter my social life.

Life Interrupted: When the Doctor Becomes the Patient

When I found out I had leukemia, I was a recent college graduate. I had dozens of friends and acquaintances who formed a frenzied around-the-clock social network, talking and texting all day, every day. I was tied to my phone like any other year-old. Actually, I carried around two BlackBerries, one for work and one for personal use. After my diagnosis, I tried to keep up my old ways, but there was less time. And I had much less energy.

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At first I felt guilty about not being able to maintain the same frequency of communication with my friends. But having cancer forced me to adopt a simpler schedule. I got a new phone — an entry-level model with no e-mail, no Facebook, no keyboard for convenient typing.

It has made me more aware of my time. I interact with a smaller group of people now.

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Life, Interrupted: Six Ways to Cope With Cancer

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