Through my cancer journey I have learned these things.
The biggest thing I regret in life is not following my dream. I wanted to be an actor, and I know I would have been a good one, however I was told I should not do that and that I had better skills to develop.
The person who told me that was correct. I have had a very successful business career, always top tier, always an asset and a top performer.
That being said, to this day I long for a career onstage. So as someone who is now looking back on her life I would like to make the following suggestions. Purely my small slice of the pie advice but I think it is pretty accurate.
1). You only live once.
2). Most people do not know how short and fragile their lives could be.
3). When faced with death (or a prescribed death schedule) you only have two choices. To accept it or to fight it. I choose to fight it.
4). I will do everything I want to do no matter how crazy as long as it doesn't hurt another person.
5). I no longer question my weight (which has always been a healthy 120-125lbs) or my wine intake (which is often more than the norm). I stick to the rule of sanity. If I can still bike 5km every day with my dog and still stand after a bottle of champagne, not only am I good, I am happy.
6). I will tell my kids I love them every time I can (I already did this for years). Because for all I know, it could be the last time.
7). Having a faithful loving husband who I adore is worth a million George Clooney's
8). True friends may take a lifetime to find but when you know them, they know you and it is magic.
9). I will never give up living and having fun.
10). I am glad I was someone who always (since I was a child and much to my parents chagrin) lived her life to its fullest. That way I have few regrets.
11). I was born to really rock life and it will take a coffin to stop that natural instinct of mine.
12). Life will go on without me although I warn you all, it won't be as much fun.
13). Get an education so that your choices are not limited when you are older. You never know what amazing imaginative career path you may choose to create.
14). Things are irrelevant. It is the people you love that matter.
15). Life is too short to be with someone who doesn't adore you.
16). Don't underestimate your parents. They will become your greatest loves and your greatest mentors.
17). Giving to others is more joyful than taking.
18). I may not live long, but I have loved and I have loved deeply. I am so grateful for the opportunity to take a risk and pour my heart and soul into loving another person regardless of the outcome. Love is exceptional and will stay with you forever.
19). Tell your parents you love them as often as you can. My mother died too soon and although I believe she knew I loved her, I have since felt a great guilt that I didn't show it enough. My father is my hero and I could never imagine a life without him, yet I still feel I do not express my love and appreciation of him enough. I guess that is a work in progress.
20). Tell your siblings you love them. My brother was ripped from my life far too early. I know deep inside he knew I loved him, that is not the issue. The challenge for me is that I never expressed to my sister how much I loved and respected her. So now due to my negligence we are not as close as I would like. So..... don't wait for trauma to bring you together. Just do it!
21). I did not cause my cancer, it just happened. Which showed me it can happen to anyone. Don't waste your life. Don't save that candle for a special day. Embrace this incredible gift called life. It is wonderful, it has its ups and downs and it may throw you to the curb, but it is far better than the alternative. Death.
22). I would want to trade lives with anyone who is cancer free, but then that person would have my cancer and I am not okay with that. So considering that is not an option, I choose to live out the rest of my life in the following ways:
* I want to have my kids know, respect and love me before I die.
* I want to spend my last few years of life with my husband travelling and living in tropical places (remember I grew up in South Africa).
* I want to leave a legacy of bravery, spirit and fighting so that other people with Inflammatory Breast Cancer or any kind if cancer will fight as hard as I have. One day there will be a cure.
* I want to help people newly diagnosed with cancer in the only way I can which is the Warrior Bag program of love.
* I want to enjoy every day from this one forth in bliss, honesty and integrity.
(And yes to y'all that includes lots of wine for me).
Yikes that is pretty full of stuff, particularly from me. It was written with the absolute desire that you will take it to heart and realize how precious life is.
Tuesday, 16 July 2013