Happy New Years to all of you beautiful party people! Kirk and I are spending our first new years as parents being amazing (aka super lame) having a quiet night in. I just finished watching The Paleo Way series on Netflix and Kirk is playing his online Final Fantasy game while I abandon him to write this post (he’s heartbroken, I’m sure).
The truth is I’ve been avoiding writing this post for a while. Not because I didn’t want to write it, in fact it’s the complete opposite and I feel compelled to write it, but because maybe in some subconscious way writing it down makes it more real instead of this distant monster in the closet I’ve been trying to make it. Probably something I should work through with my therapist next year (New Year’s Resolution #236, get a therapist). So let’s just get right to it.
As many of you know my mom has been struggling with health issues the last two years. To catch up those that don’t know, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and after treatment and a few years thinking she was in the clear, we discovered that the cancer had metastasized to her lung and brain. Utter devastation ripped through our family at the prognosis – 1, maybe 2 years, with about 7 months of quality life. We were heartbroken.
But if there’s one thing you need to know about my mother, it’s that she is a fighter through and through. Scrappy is the word she’s used to describe herself more than once, and she doesn’t fight fair, which in this case has been our saving grace. Since her initial diagnosis at the beginning of 2017, she has been giving her all to kick cancers ass, and here we are 2 years later and she’s still fighting strong. We’ve had our ups and downs however. After initial treatment including whole brain radiation, all of her brain tumors disappeared, things were going great; she was feeling better than she had ever felt before. However, a year after they disappeared, the tumors have begun to grow back, with increased symptoms and her most recent MRI showing new cancer growth. After the emotional roller-coaster of hearing the news, she strengthened her resolve and decided to fight even harder.
I won’t get into the emotional roller-coaster tonight because I’ve had wine, and if I come back out at midnight a sobbing wreck Kirk will never let me use the computer alone again. But as you can probably imagine, or if the universe has been cruel enough to steal a loved one from you, there is nothing that can help you comprehend or prepare for that loss. Just know that there are people around you who love and support you and they are waiting in the wings sending you their love and will be there for you the moment you need them, all you have to do is ask. What I will get into however is the importance of empowerment, and how taking your life and your health into your own hands can be the greatest gift you give yourself.
Since her diagnosis my mother has changed her life drastically. She goes for a walk, every day, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. She is eating whole foods she can pronounce the ingredients in, eliminated refined sugar and processed foods, she’s seeing a naturopath, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, has started doing yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, she’s seeing friends she hasn’t seen in years, nurturing social relationships, enjoying every minute of life and finding happiness in the small things. My mom is feeling the best she has ever felt, yet she has Stage 4 cancer.
What if we could get our shit together before we found out we were dying?
With 2019 less than 10 minutes away (wow I’m cutting this close!) what if we took a minute to think of a resolution that would add real value to our life. Now I’m not talking about going to the gym more or losing 20 pounds so you look good in a bathing suit this summer (newsflash, you’re gorgeous, you deserve to soak up as much sun as the next person and to quote Dumplin’ from Netflix: “Every body is a swimsuit body”). Nope, instead I’m thinking more along the lines of: Fuel my body with healthy foods so I have more energy to play with my children and teach them healthy eating habits. Or make it a point to meet up with my friends at least once a month to catch up and just enjoy their company. Or give your long distance family a call every other week just to hear their voice, and to let them hear yours. Grow something – a plant, a skill, a relationship. Gift yourself with a new experience. Practice gratitude. Love unconditionally. Why limit yourself to superficial plans you probably won’t follow through with. Resolve to give yourself the gift of time- time for you, time for loved ones, time to just marvel at how beautiful life really is, and how much more beautiful it could be if you just stopped for a moment and lived it with intention.
I wish you every happiness in 2019, you deserve it.
“it was when I stopped searching for home within others
and lifted the foundations of home within myself
i found there were no roots more intimate
than those between a mind and body
that have decided to be whole”