You might be jealous of my life. I post on Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat about all of the amazing things I get to do. I go on vacation. I go to concerts. My children are adorable and fun and very photogenic. I am a fun, vibrant, dynamic person and I like to take advantage of every opportunity for joy that life throws at me. I look on the bright side of life and I share my experiences far and wide. Some people wonder how I can be positive and optimistic with such a grim prognosis. Truth is, I don’t know how. I just am this way. My mom says that when I was a baby, she would come into my bedroom each morning and I would be smiling at her from my crib. I wake up every morning and choose to make the best of my situation. It wasn’t my choice to have cancer, but I do get to choose how I respond to it. We don’t have much control over how we die, but we certainly choose how we live. There is no invitation to live fabulously. It’s a choice, and I make it every day.
I’m on the path to wellness thanks to a few subtle changes in my lifestyle. Really, it’s been no big deal. I started by injecting poison into my veins, which was supposed to kill the cancer, but also decimate any other fast producing cells in my body- this caused hair loss, upset stomach and mouth sores. Then I cut out a body part so that it would stop producing estrogen, something your body naturally makes, because for me, estrogen production is bad. Estrogen is bad because it fuels the growth of my particular type of cancer. For the rest of my life I will be taking two medications, one so toxic that I have to have my blood tested every two weeks to make sure I still have white and red blood cells. Unless that medication stops working, in which case, we’ll have to come up with another plan to treat the cancer. In combination with the medicines, I have been doing bio-energy healing, to clean up my bio-field. I also see a Naturopath who prescribes multiple vitamins and fish oil and the sap of a Truffula Tree (don’t worry, it’s organic!). With this wellness protocol, I should be a picture of health in no time at all!
Meanwhile, I’ve gotten on with the business of living. No one invited me to keep living. I invited myself. My theme songs include: Katrina and The Waves “Walking On Sunshine” and Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride”. This is not to say that I actually walk around like a ball of fucking sunshine all of the time. Sometimes, the songs skip and the music becomes garbled. I get frustrated and annoyed with situations more than I’d like to admit and I probably don’t react the right way. People are pretty fucking lenient with me because, well, cancer, but they don’t have to be and they probably shouldn’t be. Now it sounds like I’m walking around having temper tantrums all day and I’m not doing that either, although I did have one yesterday. Temper tantrums need to be kept in check. Unless you are 3 or under, you should have some level of control over your frequency of temper tantrums (yet, they are necessary parts of life too).
What I’m saying is, I think we should take some responsibility for our own happiness. There is no invitation to live. Bad things happen. That’s life. Life is unfair. Life is amazing. There are things we can control and things we can not. When something happens that makes you unhappy, think about what you can control instead of how shitty the situation is. This may help you understand the situation better or at least make your journey slightly less painful.
It would be easy for me to curl up in a ball and feel sorry for myself all day, every day. Nobody would fault me for it. People would understand. Don’t get me wrong- I do feel terrible for myself. This fucking sucks. But I can’t waste “my precious time” with that bullshit. I know that I will deeply regret every moment that I fail to live fully and joyfully. Beating cancer, to me, is living my life to the fullest extent possible. Filling up every corner of my life with experience and love. Going on that trip, seeing that live music, witnessing my children’s performances that they are so very proud of, meeting a friend for lunch in the middle of the work week. Even if I die from cancer, as long as I live life to it’s fullest, I’ve won this battle.
And you can too.
I don’t know how you will die and you might not either, but today you can live. Today you can choose to be positive. There is no invitation, you don’t need anyone’s permission and you don’t have to bring anything, you just have to want to participate. You can say yes instead of no. You can tag along. You can lead the pack. There are many ways you can join in.
What are you waiting for? What is holding you back? Are you afraid of breaking old habits? Afraid of rejection? I can assure you, rejection is not going to kill you. Change is hard, for sure, but fear is limiting. Fear can negatively impact our minds and bodies, and literally make us sick. I’m not suggesting abandoning all thoughts of safety, but the only thing keeping you from happiness and positivity is yourself. Let go of your fear. Say yes instead of no.
You can’t hold anyone else responsible for your boredom or unhappiness, though. You can’t blame your job, your family, your friends, alcohol, school, traffic, or anything else. Even if you are suffering from mental illness, you are not prohibited from being accountable and living life. You may need some additional support, but that’s okay, you can still participate.
If something happens that pisses you off, stop and think: What part of this situation is under my control? Then fix that and move on.
Things not under your control: Cancer and other terminal illnesses, mental illness, other people’s behavior, other people in general, natural disasters, terrorism, political campaigns, the weather. This is obviously not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea.
Things you can control: Your reactions, your alcohol intake, what you eat for breakfast, how you dress for the weather. Get what I’m sayin?
By now, you should be able to pick up what I’m putting down, but if you skipped the meat of this article and are looking for a good way to sum it up, here you go: There is a lot of living to do and I want you to be happy and healthy and love life, just like me. If you are up for living the good life, I welcome you with open arms. Join me. Be happy.
This is not an invitation, remember, there isn’t one, but the world is always ready for you.