One is always searching for an edge when it comes to battling cancer. I discovered early in my cancer treatment that hobbies can aid us in our daily combat. Idle hands and idle minds, as they say. Staying busy and focused on things I love to do has improved my quality of life as I endeavor to continue my clash with advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastasis Stage IV.

Finding out my family history

A particular passion of mine, genealogy, has freed my mind from never-ending thoughts of cancer. I can remember a time in my cancer journey when I could not go a day without thinking, “I have cancer.” “CANCER, CANCER, CANCER!” These thoughts were not healthy for me and could not, in any way, aid me in my fray.

The majority of my adult life, I have been obsessed with finding out who I am and where I came from. In no way do I mean where was I born or who do I believe I may be. I want to know as much as humanly possible about my ancestors that came before. Who were they; where did they live; what struggles or successes did they experience; and, if possible, of what medical issues did they suffer?

What I've learned

Once one has received a diagnosis of cancer, one quickly learns the importance of your family’s medical history. It has been proven by some medical research that there are particular genes that can help suggest a person’s risk of suffering from certain types of cancer. I participated in such a study and, following a medically-performed DNA test, discovered I do have a gene that predisposes my children to cancer.

I already knew from my passion for genealogy that many members of my family had suffered from or died from cancer. Therefore, this hobby had not only been a way to occupy my mind; it had led to important discoveries concerning my ancestors medial frailties.

Feeling empowered

One thing I can surely testify to is the fact that while I am immersed in genealogy research, I rarely think of cancer or its vile side effects. Another realization emerged from my ancestral investigations: the more I uncovered about those who came before me, the stronger I felt as a person. This solidifying process gave me a strong base upon to stand and battle. Knowing who I truly am empowered me to stand against my cancer struggles.

I am not suggesting that genealogy is the hobby for everyone, but I am simply imploring my fellow cancer warriors to endeavor to uncover which hobbies can lend to your quality of life. Truly I testify to you, my oncologists have shown a true concern for my quality of life. They have expressed a belief that I should openly search for activities that will improve my life mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I took their wise words to heart and embarked on a path of discovery when it comes to hobbies. Genealogy has proven some worth to my life, and I will continue this pursuit until my Lord calls me home.

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