“You Have Cancer.”
Wow…Wow…Wow…. it was 1 year ago that I heard those words. I didn’t freak out, although I did stop dead in my tracks for a moment like seeing a rattlesnake in the middle of an Arizona path and say WTF. Then I went into what I call “go mode” and crafted a plan with people that are way smarter than me and stuck to it. The truth is “go mode” is my MO….(motus operandi)….so let’s go…..
Coming off this past year I decided to come up with my top 8 things for not letting the “C” word hijack your life. (I know I’ve said this before…. it’s worth repeating…. this is my experience and I know some people go through hell as they embark on their own cancer journeys …my prayers will always be with them.)
Number 8: Keep on keeping on. Don’t stop your life…. go to work…plan fun things…start a bandana collection…go to lunch…see Broadway plays…buy a new bike…. get a new gym membership…. travel… Keep living…do YOU!
Number 7: Don’t sweat the small stuff…Your freakin hair will grow back. (darker…thicker… wavier perhaps!) Cold caps (also known as freezing your head during treatments to preserve your hair) are your ego talking. Ditch it! The scars will fade, the nausea wears off, and you will be able to lift more than 5 pounds. Focus on what matters most. Healing. While this is a new normal, it isn’t forever.
Number 6: You do have a choice…over everything. While you don’t have the choice about whether or not you have cancer – you do have a choice about almost everything else. Your doctors, your treatment, your diet, your workout schedule, and your sleep …well, you get the point. You have a choice about how you deal with it as well as your responses to everything that’s happening to you. Your attitude will define your experience. Think gloom and doom and you’re screwed…or at least you will be gloomy and doomy.
Number 5: The epiphany is there doesn’t have to be an effin epiphany…the skies didn’t open and enlighten me to anything that I didn’t really already know. (I do know way too much about cancer than I ever cared to…but hey, it comes with the territory). I didn’t all of a sudden start telling my wife and my family that I love them…. I do that all the time. (ps: I have the most amazing wife and family!) I didn’t say: OMG! I have got to get my shit together – because I was already living a life by design. If you are looking for an epiphany – then have an epiphany. Cancer doesn’t have to be the messenger. If you are unhappy– change. And please remember to cue singing angels and turn up the lights while you are course correcting.
Number 4: Listen to everyone and listen to no one. Everyone has their opinions, the inside scoop on the latest findings, or their neighbor that had the horrific experience. Since cancer is more common that we care to admit, there are a lot of angry people out there and I get it. Cancer is no picnic. People told me F*ck Cancer. Fight Cancer. Battle Cancer. If I would have listened – then I would have been in force mode, fear mode and actually disbelieving what I already knew – that I had already won. If you believe you already won then it’s a moment-by-moment experience that you go through like any other. I knew I’d be fine. I heard people (some amazing people…thank you!) and listened to what worked for me, and wrote off the crazy.
Number 3: Change your mind — change your outcome. Chemo = Healing treatment. Radiation = Love beams. It works….shoot me up with that healing nectar and zap me with those love beams!! Power to the positivity people!
Number 2: It’s not who you are — it’s what you have/had. Cancer is only going to define you if you let it. I had cancer…they took it out…I don’t have it anymore…end of story. One year later, it is an experience I had and now I am happy, healthy, healed, powerful and strong. And I am on to my next new normal.
And the Number One thing for not letting cancer hijack your life is Don’t Make Shit Up. Don’t make up what is not happening. Don’t make up meaning behind what people do or say. Don’t make up what is wrong. Don’t attach meaning to something you have no idea about. I preferred to Joe Friday it…. Stick to the facts. Stick to what you know for sure. When you start to freak out….Stop…ask yourself what’s real and what am I making up. There was one weekend when I was a mess before the surgeries and the treatments…. and it was all self induced…and I made it all up…zero benefits there…so I stopped right then!
It has been a ride – and now I am off. The amount of love, support and grace that I have experienced through this process has been huge.
PS: Drink water…..pretend you’re a cow… (a cow can consume up to 100 gallons of water a day…random trivia.)
PPS: The best selection of bandanas is www.bandanaworld.com
PPPS: I still drink a green drink every day…and I like them!
PPPPS: Keep your power — cue the Wonder Woman stance and own it!
PPPPPS: If you have dense boobs get and Ultrasound or MRI.
PPPPPPS: Nioxin 2 shampoo is perfect when you’re done with healing treatments…we watched my hair grow!