Sunday, 28 October 2012

Setting Goals

When I was sick, setting goals became a big part of my day to day life.

I started setting goals when I was watching a baseball game of all things and a commentator who had gone through prostate cancer talked about his goal setting during his treatments and it really resonated with me. He talked about setting goals, missing most, but it gave him purpose in his day to day life.

I took this with the best intentions. I decided I needed to set realistic goals, nothing major. Nothing career oriented, because I could not really go to work. But things that were achievable. I am not ashamed to say, I didn't achieve even half of my goals, but regardless I took it in stride.

Some of my goals were very simple. Get out of bed was a good place to start. This was a daily goal. Make it to the kitchen, to the couch, walk around a bit. My oncologist always told me exercise was good and helped with treatment. Even if this was just a placebo effect, I liked to thing that it was actually helping. So when I could I set the goal of walking around the neighborhood. getting around the block once a week was a big achievement for me. It felt good to get outside.

I had some larger, long term goals. Get back to work being one, but that didn't really help. I tired getting to work once a week, but I failed at that pretty regularly.Most of my goals were simple. Play video games for an hour, eat lunch and dinner, read a book, talk to someone, call my parents and wash my dishes/laundry. These all seem like small tasks but when undergoing chemo I simply was too weak or tired or sick many days to achieve any of these things. Losing the ability to take care of yourself is one of the biggest hardships I went through. I didn't want to be a burden to my fiance (she is too nice to ever say I was).

One large goal I had while I was sick was to start raising money for cancer research, in particular the BC Cancer Agency, where I was being treated. A few of my nurses were doing a bike ride called the "Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer" and I decided to start raising money for this event for the coming year. I knew it would be difficult, given that the ride itself was from Vancouver to Seattle.

I set weekly fundraising goals (missed most) but I could do it from home through email. I bought a bike, used it about once a month if I was lucky. This was my routine for about five months. I really wanted to make it to Seattle.

After chemo ended, I started radiation on my hip. It basically made biking impossible but I tried to stay positive with it. As the days passed, and the new year came, I bought a gym membership (that was scary enough in its own right, going to gym looking barely alive).

Training was tough, but maybe through sheer determination, I was able to work towards the ride. It came this past June, and I am happy to say I made it to the finish line (see picture above) after just five months of training after a year of chemo and radiation. This was the biggest goal I achieved. It really outweighed all the ones I missed. I will surely write more on this in future posts as there is so much to discuss! Making it to the finish was a big moment of healing for me, and I am happy to say I am doing it next year too!

Setting goals, small and large, but ones that I felt were achievable, helped me get through a terrible year. I didn't focus on the ones I missed, but I clung to the ones I was able to complete and accomplish. Hopefully goal setting can help you too.

 As common as your goal may start out, they can mean the world to a cancer patient.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?