Enjoying The Passage Of Time

Me, Miss M, and Melinda the unicorn eating at Dojo's on a recent trip to NYC

Me, Miss M, and Melinda the unicorn eating at Dojo’s on a recent trip to NYC

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.

Family apple picking adventure!

Family apple picking adventure!

photo 3


20 Responses

  1. Terri, I read your post with James Taylor’s song playing in my mind, thinking, “I wonder if she knows this song?” And there was the link at the bottom of the post.

  2. I am so happy that you will be spending Canadian Thanksgiving in BC. I treasure the memory of the time I got to spend with your folks there back in June, 2008. I’ll be in Toronto for Thanksgiving, fixing the traditional dinner for my best friend Robert and his two sons Tom and Jim, then back to Bedford NS until the beginning of December. Thinking of you and Heron and Marisa, and sending you all much love — John

  3. I would rather you be “enjoying” life than blogging!

    Life is way too short for all of us – and this is a good reminder for all of us.

    Hugs from Vancouver :-)

  4. I have been following your blog for since about the second post, and i have to say that the courage and dignity you have shown blows me away. I have been living with Crohns Disease for 28 years, and some of what you said in this post really hit home. Earlier this year I gave a couple of talks about living with a chronic condition and reading this reminded me of one of the things I said. It was in reference to the amazing powers and abilities that people dealing with long-term illness.

    The ability to stand up and do things when the sensible thing would be to stay in bed or go to hospital, because having a job being a spouse, being a parent, having friends and interests doesn’t stop, can’t stop, won’t stop just because you’re sick.

    • Amen David! You are so right. Life doesn’t stop. And I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss out! Thanks for your support. I wish you continued strength and tenacity in your own journey! Hugs.

  5. When my best friend in the world suddenly passed away 4 years ago I pretty much quit doing anything that wasn’t important to me.

    People often said that he wasn’t work-and-future oriented enough (and it’s true that work needs to be done and plans need to be made, especially since you have a daughter and all) But after he was gone, I was really really happy that he didn’t spend too much of his too-short time worrying or selling his life away for a wholly theoretical future. Enjoy!

    • I guess finding balance is the key. (Isn’t it always??). So glad to hear your friend enjoyed the time he had here on earth. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I’m so happy to hear you’ll be traveling to wonderful places to enjoy time with those you love!!! Enjoy all it has to offer!!!

    • Thanks Peggy! I heard you and Mike had a great weekend on the Cape with Laurie & Mark doing that same thing. I know it’s not always easy for mike either but he keeps perservering. Much love.

  7. Thank you for your posts gracefulwomanwarrior! You continue to inspire me to continue despite the side effects, pain and how bad it gets. You continue to teach me to focus on the positives in life (which I try really hard to do). I also have stage IV (or Metastatic breast cancer in my spine) which causes a great deal of pain. I have a thirteen year old daughter that I too am fighting to be around for as long as I can. You are always in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that you can find a treatment that will kick your breast cancer and give you a great quality of life.

  8. I love that you do not write back because life got in the way. I hope I never hear from you because life just continues to get in the way. Sending love, and appreciation of your courageous dance.

    Teresa (a longtime friend of your father’s) ox

  9. You share with us by blogging, and I’m delighted to hear your pain’s better and that you’re having fun! Yes, balance is pivotal in the Dance of Life, as your mum certainly would agree

  10. Oops… comment problem; try again:
    You share with us by blogging, and I’m delighted to hear your pain’s better and that you’re having fun! Yes, balance is pivotal in the Dance of Life, as your mum certainly would agree

  11. Celebrate! I was so happy to see forty! I will see 41 in October and I’m so happy about it! Enjoy your upcoming trips!! The days that cancer can’t dictate are the best! I can’t wait to see pictures of the memories you’ll be making! Your strong and inspiring, as always!

  12. Oops… comment problem; try again:
    You share with us by blogging, and I’m delighted to hear your pain’s better and that you’re having fun! Yes, balance is pivotal in the Dance of Life, as your mum certainly would agree

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