December 28th was my first "cancerversary". One year ago, I was given my lung cancer diagnosis. I am happy to say, despite beginning with hopelessness, despair and grief, this past year turned out pretty amazing after all.
Once I got over the initial shock and devastation, I spent the year trying to find ways to live a better life--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Cancer gave me a different outlook. I destressed, detoxified, decluttered, unburdened, simplified, connected. I learned to let go of obligations. I became truer to myself. I slept... a lot and don't regret it. One of the more important things I learned was to accept the fact that I have limited time on this earth, as we all do. I think all cancer patients are forced to realize this earlier than we should. So be it. Accepting that I have limited time on this earth is not to say that I have less of a drive to live. Quite the opposite actually. I now have a better appreciation for the life I have been given and try to live everyday to the fullest. I've come to understand that living life to the fullest doesn't mean dropping normal daily routines to achieve everything I ever wanted to do or spending every second with those dearest to me. No, to me it means taking better care of myself, listening to the needs of my body and soul. Allowing my mind time to linger in the peacefulness of silence. Waking up grateful for every new day. Being constantly amazed by the beauty of this Earth. Learning not to feed the fear in me but rather focus on my hopes and dreams. It also means learning to accept people for who they are. Understanding that compassion means believing that every person on this earth is trying to live their best life, to whatever capacity they can. It means realizing that my purpose in life doesn't need to be anything grand. It could be as simple as being happy with who I am, sharing what I have learned with others, or using my abilities to contribute to a better world. Yes, the devastating diagnosis of cancer made me realize all the above. For that, I thank you cancer.
Thank you friends and family for helping me enjoy another holiday season, and I look forward to many more with you! Any monetary gifts to us will be donated to the Lung Cancer Translational Research Initiative, because helping to fund lung cancer research is more important than anything we can ever buy ourselves. Thank you so much for your generosity! Anyone looking to donate to a charity or worthy cause before the end of 2014, please consider the University of Calgary's lung cancer program (netcommunity.ucalgary.ca/lungcancer).
With much love and gratitude, we wish you all a very healthy, happy and extraordinary 2015!