How This Retiree Adjusted to the “C” Diagnosis Smoothly

How This Retiree Adjusted to the “C” Diagnosis Smoothly

He was working his retirement plan, living the dream, engaged with life.  Big travel plans, hobbies to indulge, fulfilling community involvement, fun social circles.  Eight years into retirement, the cancer diagnosis was received, and he took it all in stride.  Here’s how…


Be Adaptable

Gary is a pragmatic, matter-of-fact, logical type of guy.  To hear him talk about his cancer diagnosis and treatment is like listening to someone talk about a mosquito bite.  An irritant, but life goes on.

Before retirement, Gary and his wife attended retirement life planning workshops provided by their employers. Beyond the financial plan, they truly had a whole retirement plan. It was, and is, a full plan.  Community involvement, gardening, golf, hiking, curling, volunteer jobs, travel, elder caregiving, learning, and of course travel – big trip type of travel.

“If you don’t know what you’ll do in retirement, you’ll be lost.”


Gary is busy.   Yet, he is relaxed about his retirement plans. He allows for wiggle room.   If an opportunity for a new adventure arises, he adapts.

And that’s just what Gary did, when he was given the “C” news. Adaptability is a retirement success factor and I would say Gary has this one figured out!

“We just adjusted our plans.”


Thankfully, Gary’s prognosis looked positive, and so they adjusted their activities, commitments and travel plans while he went through his treatments.  Road trips instead of flying. Coordinator versus executive volunteer positions.  And a little less golf and curling. No problem.


Get On With It

As I listen to Gary share his experience, I am struck by how little he dwells on his serious health scare. His reaction to the news?  Let’s find out what it is, deal with it, and get on with it. “I really didn’t think about it too much.”  It happened, there was a treatment strategy, and some lifestyle adjustments.  So what?  I am inspired by his calm attitude.  It is what it is, just get on with life!  Acceptance.

“Health concerns can start to creep in and that happens to everybody.”


Lessons Learned

“Get planning on the big things. If it involves travel, do it now.”


This is a recurring theme shared by the retirees I have interviewed, and I’m thinking we need to pay attention. Whether it’s a big hike, a long trip or a new sport, start now, while you can, so you have no regrets.  “You don’t know what health issue will hit you, so do the big stuff now.”

“Have a plan.”  A life plan, that is, for retirement.  Gary understood the big changes retirement would bring.  He and his wife, embarked upon their life plan a couple of years before retiring, enabling a smoother, easier transition. They developed new hobbies and the social circles that come with them.

“If you’ve planned it, and have a retirement income to match your plan, you are in good shape.”


In His Words

“Do it early. Don’t wait!”


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