12 Lessons Learned on My Path to Being Cancer-Free

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#1 Being first and doing it alone doesn’t mean you are brave, just stupid -there’s no rush to the top and having cancer has taught me that I can’t go it alone

#2 Being perfect. Yep. There are typos in my emails and smudges on my windows. So what? When you die you’ll have no one saying how “perfect” your postmortem makeup job is. Get used to it now. No one that matters cares about that stuff.

#3 Being a size 8. Yep. Notice I didn’t say 0 or 2 or even 6. An 8. You see my body never could contort to that without ultimate starvation. Don’t roll your eyes. I’m 5’9 and played sports my whole life. I know what being healthy is and it’s different for us all. Don’t believe it yet? Bite me. (Just don’t bite my sandwich;)

#4 Having the latest and greatest. I think I straddled this one before cancer. But now I’m 200% on board with the “what works best for me model”.

#5 Small talk. Yep. Don’t talk to me about the flipping weather. Let’s get deep. Fast. Let’s connect. No matter who you are there is something sitting right there, below the surface that I want to know exists. I’ve had deep conversations that lasted 3 minutes with a bank teller. I learned she was 3 during the war in Kosovo and came here striving for her boys to get their education. It all started with me asking if she felt ok. What a story to tell my 7 yr old and teach him about gratitude. Her eyes were tired. Don’t be afraid. Go deep.

#6 Not everyone wants to be kind. Can they? Yes? But not everyone wants to choose others over themselves. That’s it.

#7 People surprise you. Those that support you and those that don’t. Don’t make this about you. It’s not.

#8 Feeling good, feeling healthy is like no other feeling in the world. If someone you know has a chronic illness tell them you wish for them far better days than not. Trust me. They’ll appreciate it.

#9 People will hurt you, even when you are down. It’s ok to be mad but it’s not ok to feel that it’s your fault. Let them do them and you do you. When the time is right, your lives will sync up again.

#10 Sometimes people can’t handle your pain. It hurts them too much and therefore they end up withdrawing. If you’re the strong type don’t get angry just find that place of understanding and if you can’t just hang out with the ones that do for now. It is not your struggle.

#11 Forgive. When you are laying down for a 45-minute scan and you aren’t allowed to talk or move you are left with your thoughts. Most of the time I’m talking to my dad, too worried I’ll let my mind drift, wishing I could crane my neck to see what the technician is seeing on the screen. But I do think about experiences, times of hurt and have decided to forgive, a lot. It’s good for me.

#12 Celebrate. Any reason is a good reason to celebrate. Don’t wait until you have to go looking for a reason. Pop that cork! Live life. Be Authentic.

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