This morning on NPR radio they were doing a show about vacations. Specifically about America’s reluctance to take vacations compared to Europe’s support and encouragement of vacation time. What struck me most were the stories from people who called in… The man who worked hard for decades so he could retire early only to become disabled and unable to do the traveling he once dreamed of… Or the woman who spoke of her parents postponing travel till retirement and then passing away on their first ever flight out of the country… The message seemed to be – enjoy life now while you can because who knows what tomorrow will bring.
This message hit particularly hard because of the passing of three fellow cancer warriors in the last few weeks… All way too young. All with so much life left to live. Giuseppa Pontearso Robinson, Michelle Pammenter Young, and Thomas Hadt you will never be forgotten.
The beauty is, that all three of these people understood the message about enjoying life while you can. They traveled, they loved, they laughed, and made sure to have one heck of a good time.
I realize more and more that that is what it’s all about. Don’t wait. Have your good times now. Take that vacation. Travel. Do what makes you happy.
Oftentimes friends say to me, “I had no idea things were that bad. Or that you are struggling so much.” This is because I try not to focus on all the things that are wrong with me… Like the two litres of fluid sitting in my left lung that makes it hard to walk without being out of breath… Like the constant back pain from the tumors in my spine that make it hard to stand for any length of time… Like the fact that only one of my hands works… That the side effects of the drugs I am taking make me nauseous and tired, have me running to the bathroom to throw up, making my skin dry out and scab up, my fingers full of sores, my eyes constantly tearing so it’s hard to see (not to mention what the drugs are doing to my liver and all the good cells)…
But I don’t want to focus on all the bad stuff. Because my hair IS finally growing back in. My pain is much more manageable than it was two months ago. I can still walk. I can still take a vacation and travel. I have many people that love me and many prayers being said on my behalf. And as long as I’m still able to get out there and live life, that is what I plan to do. I’d rather spend my time doing that then bitching and moaning.
So I’m planning a trip to Vancouver and Bowen Island for Canadian Thanksgiving. And a fun girls trip to Chicago to celebrate my 40th birthday in October with Auntie ‘Cole. And a trip to Hawaii to visit friends in the new year. The cancer will just have to take a backseat because I have things to do, people to see, and places to go! I’ve also finally started to write the memoir of my mom’s and my journeys through cancer. It’s been a long time coming. It feels good to finally get it out of my head and onto the computer screen.
As James Taylor said, “The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time.” If you’ve never heard this song take a moment and listen. Words to live by.
Peace and love. -T
PS - I want to take a moment to say how much I truly appreciate all of you who take the time to read my musings and provide heartfelt comments on the blog. I always intend to respond and then life gets in the way. But I really want to make it a point to find the time to engage more with all of you who are reading. This blogging community means a lot to me. You guys mean a lot to me. I’m going to try and make it happen.