I’ve been pondering quite a bit lately about the lessons learned and wisdom gained as a result of my “c” diagnosis. And although I have received positive feedback on my handling of it, I have also developed a no-tolerance attitude. Hmmm.
But after my radiation matrix mess yesterday, I realized that not everyone has gone through a terrifying health scare (you lucky dogs, you!) and that what now seems obvious to me might not be so obvious to the average Jane or Joe. So…I thought why not share some of my bits of wisdom picked up along the way.
Spend and enjoy your money
Sure, saving your money for retirement is important. But it’s not everything, especially with a life-threatening disease. While saving and planning are necessary, stressing about money does no one any good (especially “c”). If throwing a bit of money at a problem makes my life easier, I’ll do it without giving it a thought. Obviously I’m not walking around every day sipping Dom Pérignon and eating caviar (umm peanut butter) – although there’s a fun image for you – but I’m caring less and enjoying more. Which leads me to my next point.
Go on a vacation
This involves spending money too – and potentially a fair amount if you go somewhere incredible. After going through something like “c” in which you are limited in travel, and where you dream about someday getting on a plane and being anywhere but the chemo infusion room or bathroom, you never take going on vacation for granted again. Although there may be work and financial constraints, some times you just have to say “oh well”, eat peanut butter, book that ticket and get out of Dodge!
Enjoy your food
Okay…I love food…always have! But if anything, I savor it even more now than I did before. Food is such an amazing pleasure that so many of us don’t take the time to appreciate. And let me tell you, losing your sense of taste and losing your ability to eat the foods you truly enjoy because of the ugly side effects from chemo make you realize how amazing food can be. Sure, I eat healthy and balanced, but I also love my pasta, peanut butter and wine. Sorry, I don’t apologize for any that. Because you know what? Life is short and food is delicious. So don’t deprive yourself of great pleasure. But rather make good choices so you can remain healthy and don’t stress if one day is “off” – we all have them!
Don’t waste time doing something you dislike
It’s heartbreaking how many people fall into the trap of being comfortable in a situation that makes them unhappy – a job, a relationship, a mindset. Whatever it is, if it’s making you miserable, get the heck out! Seriously. Time is so precious and you don’t want to waste a second of it. Choose happiness. Choose peanut butter. Choose YOU! Once you make that choice, good things will come your way. (But if this leads to you quitting your job and not being able to pay your rent, please don’t show up at my house looking for a spare bed. The dogs would not be happy!)
Have you ever noticed how much people are stressed out on a daily basis? Take a look around you – stress and anxiousness permeates from everyone. If this is you, stop it – stop it right now! Sure, there is “productive” stress. A little bit here and there can do some good and help get things done. But for the most part it only wreaks havoc on your body and mind. Occasionally I find myself worked up about a situation; however I have found very little tolerance, time and patience for issues. If I notice my stress levels rising, I quickly stop myself and ask “Is this really that important? Is this life or death?” The answer is almost always “no”. And then I snap out of it, eat a spoonful of peanut butter, and move on!
Don’t take your health for granted
Yep, this is the big one. I don’t think it’s possible to go through something like “c” without having a newfound appreciation for how amazing your body is when it’s working properly. Since the diagnosis, every day that I’m able to wake up, eat peanut butter, drive Gia to school, workout, type these FB posts, attend events, cook dinner, eat peanut butter again, kiss my husband is an UNBELIEVABLE DAY! It’s like John Mayer once said – your body is a wonderland. If yours is functioning properly without trying to hold you down, then consider yourself extremely lucky.
Truly, what it all boils down to is this. We’ve all only got one life to live. So live it and live it well. And most importantly, remember these words to guide you through.
There is nothing peanut butter and a spoon can’t fix!