How would you describe your life after having cancer?

Answer by Carol Fleming:

First I'd like to state that life does go on but it may be with changes.  In my case, I relapsed as my own (late) husband was fighting a battle against a rare and aggressive type of leukemia.  As a result, we were both battling at the same time but in different locations.

We had traveled from Saudi Arabia to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for him to receive treatment.  While he went through expected ups and downs, his prognosis looked favorable.  His physician gave me a green light to travel from Houston to visit family in NC, especially as we thought we'd be returning shortly to Saudi Arabia.

My cancer relapsed while visiting my family.  My husband also relapsed at the same time.  As a result we had to make the hard but practical choice for me to remain in NC where my family would be my caregiver and more of his family would come from Saudi Arabia to look after him.

His condition deteriorated to the point where his physician said he could remain at MD Anderson and be kept comfortable or if he wished to return home, it had to be arranged quickly and by medivac.  Naturally, he wanted to see his mother one last time and die at home in his own country.

Sadly, at that time I was hospitalized due to reactions from aggressive chemo.  Our last conversation and final goodbye with each other was via Skype.  He was able to hold on until he saw his Mother and then he passed.

My whole life changed.  I became a widow without my own home and battling cancer.  I went through a few meltdowns but learned that life can be rebuilt.  My life is much different but in some ways it is even better.

Cancer humbled me and also makes me appreciate life.  I start each day thanking God for the day and all the blessings I do have.  I am not shy or hesitant to let those special to me know how special they are.  I mended any fences that needed mending.

I've become an activist on not only breast cancer support and outreach but for any kind of cancer.  I speak out and write on the importance of staying informed and empowering yourself.  It is also important to sensitive others that once someone has been diagnosed with cancer, it not only changes the life of the patient but the family and friends too.  Cancer is not only something that requires medical treatment but emotional and oftentimes financial as well.

I have Stage 4 breast cancer. It is not curable but treatable.  It has traveled from the breast to my liver, bones and brain.  However, attitude makes a BIG difference in the battle against cancer.  I have my motivators and set goals.

I have not allowed my life to stop or to stop living because of my diagnosis.

View Answer on Quora


11 Responses

  1. Carol, I admire you so much!! Stay strong and keep that wonderful attitude! You are an inspiration!!

    PS: when does you movie/documentary come out?

  2. Thank you, Donna!

    The documentary is in post-production so once that is finished -and- the CIA approves it, then it will be out. I’m sorry I can’t give a definitive date but I can say forward progress continues!

    On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 7:22 PM, American Bedu

  3. Your a true warrior Carol. And an inspiration. It is so tre what you said about attitude, I just wish some of it had passed on to juma. On day we will win this disease I hope and pray.
    Stay positive .

  4. Thank you so much, Radha, for the encouragement. I still miss Juma and cherish my interactions with her.

    On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM, American Bedu

  5. Thank you for sharing this very sad yet encouraging story Carol. You are inspiring others who have terminal disease and you’re even encouraging me with the strength that you show to be a great mother to my child and Inshallah teach her about her body and to always appreciate the small things God has graced us with. Thank you.

  6. Glad to see you back Carol. I am also looking forward to the documentary.

  7. My hearts is sad, I cried that you two say good bye each other over Skype. I hate these disease. I pray that you have all the help, blessings that you need.

  8. Carol, you are such a strong & positive person! Keeping fingers crossed for you & all who are battling Cancer. Love.

  9. Thank you everyone. I participate on and that was my response to a question posed there which I also chose to share on the blog.

    On Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 7:13 AM, American Bedu

  10. 15 year old invents New Method of Diagnosing Cancer – Jack Andraka is a fifteen year old freshman in high school. He developed a paper sensor that could detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer in five minutes for as little as 3 cents.

    He conducted his research at John Hopkins University. This research could change the face of cancer and promote early detection. To think that scientists spending millions of dollars to find more about cancer, a 15 year old finds out by doing a science fair project!!/2013/02/fifteen-year-old-invents-cancer-diagnosing-method.html

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