Upon my #2 year “cancerversary” I reflected upon the journey with some Q&A:
Q: What makes you smile these days?
A: Air conditioning first and foremost, but otherwise it’s just the simple things; a funny text, a song on the radio that triggers a lovely memory and of course the fact that I am lucky enough to get the summer free from chemo. A break from treatment has left a permanent smile on my face.
Q: Did you learn anything in your second year of battling cancer?
A: YES! Not all things are fair, but that is the nature of life. I’ve realized that I am here on a spiritual journey and if I’m open, l will see the beautiful lessons all around. But most of all, I’ve learned to accept my defeats and try to grow from them instead of letting them control me in a negative way.
Q: What has been your most memorable moment in the last year?
A: Ah! There are too many, this last year has been so good to me. I’d say my most precious moment was when I was in Liverpool with my Nan and a street violinist played, “You are my Sunshine” and my Nan sang it word for word to me. It was an emotional, raw moment that I’ll never forget.
Q: What have you done to make your life less stressful?
A: I’ve stuck to my zero bullshit tolerance. I often walk on such a fine line of being content and depressed and in order to remain on the positive side of things I’ve learned that I need to protect myself. It’s a challenge.
Q: Are you carrying any excess baggage into your third year as a cancer patient?
A: No. I’d say I am in a pretty great place; my tumor markers are at an all time low, my body is getting stronger each day and I am focusing on my mental health constantly. I’m also creatively in a good place, with a lot of different projects in the works.
Q: Is there anyone that deserves a big “THANK YOU”?
A: Anyone that has given me love, encouragement and support over the last two years. I always feel the love. Steve and my Nan are saints and I can never thank them both enough, especially.
Q: What are your top three goals for the next year?
A: Obviously first and foremost is to try and stay as healthy as possible, with the thought that my terminal illness is not a death sentence and try to live as normally as I can. I’d also like to put a lot of energy into my creative power, publish the book that I am co-authoring and manifest a steadfast voice for cancer patients and survivors.
Q: What has the biggest lesson been so far with having cancer?
A: Sometimes painful things can teach us the most beautiful lessons. I’ve seen people’s true colors, as well as my own and I’ve realized that peace really does have to come from within.
Q: What are your fears?
A: Letting fear win. Once fear enters the mind, it takes over the body and I can’t afford to let that happen.
Q: What have you struggled with in the last year that you want to change?
A: Communication was my biggest struggle this year. I have a tendency to be such a loner and keeping up with people and connecting sometimes takes a lot of energy for me. But, I realize the significance of my relationships and I’d like to be able to reciprocate my time and energy more often and freely. It is so important.
Q: What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?
A: TRAVEL! A year ago I was on travel lockdown and too sick to pack up and go. This year I’ve managed to travel and it’s been bliss! My two biggest trips were Hawaii with Steve and the UK with my Nan. My world opened up again this year and changed me forever.
Q: What word best describes the way you’ve spent the last year of your life?
Q: In one year from today, how do you think your life will be different?
A: Hopefully my cancer will still be in a manageable place, where I can continue to have a quality of life. Second to that, I hope to get published and see the book lined on shelves for everyone to read. High hopes, always!
Q: Are there any issues from the cancer that you continually avoid to talk about?
A: Yes, the dynamic that takes place with family members when cancer is in the mix. Those you think would be there aren’t always able to show up for you and it is difficult to accept. So far the thing I hate most about cancer is what it can do to a family.
Q: What is something that no one, not even cancer can take away from you?
A: Writing. At times cancer can take away my will to live, but writing let’s me bleed and reminds me that I am alive.
Q: When you look into the past, before your diagnosis, what do you miss the most?
A: Pre-cancer me is such a stranger now. I miss feeling young, wild and free. Cancer can feel like a trap at times and my body feels ancient.
Q: What is the #1 change you need to make in your life for the next 12 months?
A: Let go of what I can’t change. I think that’s a quote, but accepting change is what I need to change.
Q: What have you learned about yourself in the last two years that you have been a cancer patient?
A: I’m pretty fu*kin strong! Also, the importance of mental health — it can be so tricky!
Q: What is one thing right now that you are totally sure of?
A: That you can never really be sure of anything.
Q: What question do you often ask yourself?
A: Where is my mind? I sing it to myself though, like the Pixies.
Q: Time or money?
A: Time, it’s priceless.
Q: What is your wish for the next year of your life?