Living My Best Life

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It’s nearly 1 a.m. and, man oh man, am I wiped out. It was a long day today but a good one for sure. I really need to be better about blogging more frequently, before the words begin to slip through the cracks and I forget the minor details of this whole experience over the last nine months to date. My goal is to inspire but also to remember as much as I possibly can from this whole cancer experience. Learn from it, grow, understanding myself and the woman I’ve become.

This coming Wednesday is supposed to be treatment # 11 out of the twelve chemotherapy treatments recommended by my oncologist. Holy shadoobies, only two more to go! This journey has been absolutely amazing to me. I have done so many things this past year, for myself, that I may not have done otherwise.

Cancer woke me up. Up until my diagnosis I had been living an ordinary life. My children and I have been GMO free for three years now, so a little over two years when I was diagnosed. When I say GMO free I don’t mean completely 110% organically. We still have to squeeze in a milkshake or two from Friendly’s Family Restaurant or a grinder from our local pizza place. That’s the same as a sub, hero or hoagie if you’re not from New England 🙂 Which by the way, phenomenal! I’m just saying, the grinders that is…although New England can pretty awesome too.

Even though my children and I were eating healthy, I wasn’t exercising. I would practice yoga once a week, or month or every few weeks but I wasn’t disciplined in my practice–even though I loved and enjoyed it so much. I was so exhausted from school and making sure my children attended their extracurricular sports, classes and activities that I wasn’t giving myself enough time. I wasn’t taking care of me.

I’ll be honest, I was perfectly content to live in the complacency of my daily routine. Settling for negative relationship habits, repeating the same monotonous patterns everyday, holding onto the past instead of living for the moment at hand.

This year I finally began to truly value myself as a spiritual being, mother and woman. The more I give to myself the more I have in me to give to my children and those I love. And it has been so kickass! I’ve been able to reach out to others in the cancer community, connecting with others in beautifully compassionate ways. After fifteen years of contemplating, I finally got my nose pierced! (I know, I know it seems a bit silly) I traveled to Sicily for ten days, although some loved ones were a little concerned for my health. Got a tattoo (no, not in Sicily) in honor of my spirit’s transformation–to remind myself everyday what (and who) I’m living for. Went to my first Dave Matthew’s Band concert, attended an Abraham Hicks workshop, vacationed in Florida, started this blog, saw the Goo Goo Dolls in concert, joined the gym, began meditating everyday, received my Reiki Level II certification, finally got my MacBook (thanks mom!!!) and am in the process of finally getting into a vehicle of my own after nearly four years of having to rely on others for transportation. To think, there’s still four months left in 2014 to manifest astounding opportunities! Life is beautiful.

I’m not saying my life is rainbows, butterflies and unicorns all the time. This morning, I thought for sure my kids were going to tackle one another…and not in a “let’s hug it out” kind of way. My son was upset because I told him to eat breakfast and clean the rest of his room before he went over his friend’s house. My daughter has entered the phase of using her adorableness to persuade me, believing that her use of the word “please?” automatically means a yes from mom every time. Nope honey, not in this house!

The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t have to wait for a life threatening diagnosis in order to make your life extraordinary. We all have the potential for greatness. It’s not a matter of luck or fate or coincidence. If you want change to occur in your life, you have to be willing to change things in it. Simple as that. Break out of your routine, do the thing that you’re afraid of (within reason here people, think things that will better your life without physically or emotionally harming yourself or others), nourish your soul and nurture your body.

Life goes by in the blink of an eye, time is such a precious commodity that so many take for granted. There’s no waiting for opportunity to knock. You have to break down the damn door, taking initiative. Do the things you love, appreciate the people who are there for you, forgive and let go of the ones who aren’t, wake each morning with gratitude that you have another day.

Most of us walk around with this thought process of “I’m always gong to be around. I have time to do this or that or fill in the blank here. That’s not going to happen to me.” Well guess what? I was twenty-nine-years old, a single mother of two, full time student, had everything going for me, and BOOM I was diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer. No genetic link whatsoever to Colon Cancer, no family history of it.

Life happens. It’s about how you react when shit hits the fan that matters. It’s understandable to be upset or down, have emotions that overwhelm you, feel sad or depressed. It’s perfectly normal, it makes us human. But after a certain point, it’s time to brush the dirt off your shoulders, get your ass up off the floor, tell (the Universe, God, yourself, whoever) that you are now stronger than ever before from this point onward.

Throwing yourself a pity party isn’t going to do anything but place more momentum into a negative situation. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised or a combination of that and what life has shown me.

I was feeling overwhelmed today at returning to school this semester, vehicle searching, chemo almost but not quite being done, finding the energy to do what I have to for my children. Then my mother gave me the best piece of advice and something clicked. She said “You’re just going to have to do it. Don’t think about and just get through it. You’ve done it before and you’ll do it again.”

This past spring I never questioned what I had to do. I passed both of my classes with A’s, found the time and energy to bring my son to Kung Fu twice a week, to take my daughter to Mommy and me gymnastics every Saturday morning, balanced play dates with study nights and housework, began classes three weeks post op from major colon resection surgery and started chemo. If I could do all of that last semester then I knew it was absolutely possible that I could handle everything now.

There’s this saying that “God only gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.” While I’m more of a spiritualist than a religious person, thinking of things from a Universal standpoint, I believe this to be true. “The Universe gives it’s toughest battles to it’s strongest soldiers.” I’ve gotten this far, there’s no turning back now.

There is so much light, strength, beauty, compassion and love within each and every one of us if we’d just be willing to tap into it. Struggles build character, give us something to learn from and can knock us to the ground. But if you’re able to get back up when life knocks you down, that’s the real strength. To smile when you’re hurting inside, to laugh in the face of fear, to persevere with a positive attitude–that’s better than gold right there.

 

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