Grateful for Cancer? Well…. Yes! Thank You, Cancer!

I’m WELL over due for a post.  It’s amazing how I can allow little things to take up my time when I could be blogging instead.  Sadly…. I forget how much I enjoy it till I do it.

Today I read a post from a friend on Facebook.  It’s an open letter to her cancer fight that she just went through.  It’s so beautifully written and said so many of the things that I felt while I was on my own battle with cancer that I asked her if I could share it here.

Before I do…. let me first give a long overdue update on my own condition.  I am 18 months out past my last treatment.  I go in for my semi-annual scan/check up next week.  I’ve been feeling great in that aspect.  Though I’ve been dealing with some digestive issues (which I’m completely blaming on diet) and some bad joint pain (which is because of age AND chemo…..)….. I’m doing great!  We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first grand child which I’m SURE I will blog about shortly!  But really, life is great!

10.16-Be-GratefulBelow is the open letter my friend Lori Rees posted on her Facebook page.  It explains so wonderfully that even though going through cancer is not fun….. you learn so much and are truly blessed in SO many ways!  With permission, here is Lori’s letter:

An open letter to my Cancer:
Dear Cancer,
I am writing today because I feel like I haven’t told you how I feel about having had you in my life, and I hate to leave any relationship unresolved.
You came into my life when I least expected you. I had never felt more healthy-physically, mentally and spiritually. How ironic, right? Well, thank you for choosing such a time to arrive. My body had been building a fortress and I was prepared.
Actually, there are many things for which I would like to thank you.
Thank you for introducing yourself so clearly. I knew you were an alien visitor when I felt you for the first time. I knew I couldn’t wait to introduce you to my doctor, and take a closer look.
Thank you for allowing me to meet such amazing professionals at Huntsman, who gave me wonderful advice, re-assurance, and care.
Thank you for allowing me to meet other patients who inspired me and helped me along the way.
Thank you for showing me the kindness of complete strangers who offered hugs.
Thank you for re-connecting me with friends who reached out and encouraged me, and showed me such love.
Thank you for letting me accept help from my neighbors and friends, who cooked meals for us, mowed our lawn, and checked up on our family. That vulnerability is sometimes difficult to give in to. But I realized that accepting that love, support and help from others, is healing for all involved.
Thank you for showing me how strong a mother’s love is. My mother stepped in and didn’t allow me to lift a finger with laundry or housework. Thank’s Mom!
Thank you for showing me how important it is to do what I love to do.
Thank you for teaching me that being present in every moment is what I should always strive for. Every day counts. Every moment counts. Cliche? Maybe. But true.
Most of all, thank you for the realization that I am much stronger than I ever thought I was.
During our relationship, I never gave you any points or credit for anything. But I suppose I ought to have given you one. You get one point for my hair. I loved mine, and I miss it. I had worn short hair for 20 years, and one day, decided to grow it out. It took 7 years to get it long and luscious, and I was having fun with it. I am an actress, and I loved my “new look,” as I was just gaining my stride, getting back into the business. So you can chalk that one up, and know you knocked me down a peg, but you didn’t take anything else away from me. I can say that with confidence. You were never allowed to take away my optimism, my determination, or my spirit of adventure. And you certainly didn’t take away my talent.
So, who won? I guess it’s a matter of perspective. If your intent was to take my life, literally, or figuratively, then you lost. Big-time. But if you intended to show me a few things about myself and others; if you wanted to keep me on my toes, then you won. Either way, I get to be a better person for it.
So, as I say goodbye, know that I have no contempt for you. I don’t blame you for wanting to know me. I’m a pretty great gal! But I must ask you to respect my wishes and never return. I think we both gained all we could in this relationship. Let’s not make it messy, by dragging it out.
Lori Rees, Survivor.

Isn’t that beautifully written? I absolutely love it!  And I can relate to every bit of it (other than my treatments were with Cancer Specialists at IMC and my own Mom was too old to help…. though believe me, she would have if she could have!).  This is brilliant.  I wish my thoughts had been so clear.  If you are, by chance, interested in reading about my own battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma…. click on the “When Your Life Hits a Wall” tab at the top of the blog. When you hover over the tab, you’ll see many additional pages with all the updates.  I’ve numbered them so you can read them in order if you’d like.

While cancer sucks, as we all know…..  having a good attitude about the journey helps immensely! I’m so grateful that I did and that people like Lori can inspire us all to look at it with a positive attitude! Thanks for letting me share, Lori!  There are lessons in almost everything around us in life if we look for them!  As the old song says…. “Look For The Silver Lining”.

I Am Grateful! How Are You?


Little Old People Make Me Happy!

Oh boy….. what fun it is to talk to the little old men at my Mom’s Assisted Living place!  I was cracking up.

I took my Mom down to eat her lunch in the dining room this afternoon.  I got her all settled and was just watching some of the other residents as they came in.  It was interesting to see their faces and how they were feeling.  Some of them seemed cheerful…. others not so much.  The one cute lady at the table next to my Mom was helping to scoot the chairs in of the ladies that sit with her.  It was great.  I asked her if she needed my help to push her own chair in and she said… “No!  Oh…. not with my butt!”  I couldn’t help but giggle!  Just as a side note…. I’m pretty sure this was the same  little lady I ran into in the laundry last week that was confused about her own laundry and was trying to do my Mom’s laundry.  She’s as healthy as a horse…. but not so cognizant any more!  Cute and funny though!

Then I was standing there by my Mom helping her decide what to order for lunch and one of the little old men at the table next to hers pointed at me and motioned for me to come over there.  He said…. “I just got through shaving my face and I want you to feel what a good job I did!”  Again…. another giggle!  What a cutie.  He sits at a table with all men so a conversation began about shaving…. or not.  Another little man told me how he went to get his hair cut the other day (mind you… there isn’t much there to cut!) and the girl charged him $12 just to buzz his head!  Then he proceeded to tell me how he used to work for ZCMI in the clothing department and he had to be dressed up all the time.  He used to go get his hair cut in ZCMI for a lot less than that!  The first man told him that he was going to open up a barbershop of his own since he could shave himself so well, he would do it for the others.  “No way am I letting you shave me!” the other man said.  Of course, another man at the table with a full beard was just shaking his head.  It was pretty entertaining to watch.  Made my day.

It amazes me how much these people can be affected by their attitudes.  My Mom’s attitude is usually fairly cheerful…. but since she took a fall the other day…. she’s had on her ‘ornery pants’!  Being in pain can’t be fun, that’s for sure.  Perhaps that’s why I took such a delight in watching some of the other patrons being cheerful.

It’s a shame that more people can’t see the joy and fun that these people can be and give.  I don’t know how much each of these residents see their families… but I hope it is often.  They all have so much to teach us if we will only just watch and learn and listen.

I’m grateful that I have been available the last couple of days to come help my Mom.  Ornery pants and all….  I’m grateful to be able to visit with some of the other residents too.  I’m glad Mom is in such a wonderful place that gives her good care and is full of other cheerful residents.

I’ve always loved ‘old people’.  When my husband and I got married we lived in an area we considered to be the “Newlyweds or the Nearly Deads”.  There wasn’t much between our age group and the ‘older’ people in the neighborhood, so I became endeared to those older folks.  I truly loved them and was a little sad when we moved away.  (Ironically…. those ‘old’ folks were about the age of my husband and I right now!!  It’s all Perception!!)  Now those same people that I loved so much are dying off and in Assisted Living centers like my Mom.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… I’ve always loved older people and consider it a blessing to learn at their feet.  Maybe part of that comes from not having Grandparents as I grew up.  My Grandparents all passed by the time I was 9 years old, so I didn’t have anyone to turn to for wisdom and counsel as a young adult.  Regardless of what makes me feel that way…..  I know there is much to be learned from Little Old People!  So ‘turn up your Bell Tones’ and listen in!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Cheerful Shoppers

I spent the afternoon shopping, not only Christmas presents, but birthday presents too.  We have 2 birthdays in our family close together this week and also close to Christmas.    So, I was out doing a little shopping today.

When I got into the Mall I wasn’t expecting the parking to be as bad as it was.  I would have expected it at another Mall up the road aways because of all the new stores there….. but not at this mall.  At first I could feel myself being a little apprehensive about the parking situation and wishing I didn’t have to do this today.  Shopping a week before Christmas is always going to be crazy, but on a Saturday besides…. that’s just nuts!

I finally decided to park toward the outer area of the mall, close to what actually may have been parking for one of the many restaurants around the mall….. but I guess at this time of year, it’s expected that their parking would be full too.  Once I decided this was all going to be OK…  I headed inside to mall with a mission in mind.

Luckily, I didn’t have too many long lines to stand in today, except at Penney’s…. for which I was very grateful.  But another thing I was grateful for was the cheerfulness of the people around me.  The few store clerks I worked with were nice and cheerful (it helps that I was cheerful with them too….)  and the people in the line at Penney’s were all in a good mood too.

I was so glad that the shopping trip today was a pleasant one.  Though I didn’t get all my Christmas shopping done…. I did get the birthdays taken care….. which is good since we are celebrating them tomorrow!

So, I say thanks to all the people around me today that seemed to be keeping the spirit of Christmas in their attitudes and cheerfulness!  It helped me to do the same and made for a pleasant afternoon!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

I Am Now Here

OK…. I’ll admit it.  The last few days haven’t been as chipper as I’d like them to be.  It’s often very hard to realize your blessings when you are wallowing in frustration or pain.

I had a timely email come to me.  It actually came the other day, but I finally got around to reading it today.  It made me realize that it’s OK to feel a little down once and a while.  It’s almost impossible to be cheerful all the time!  Again…. from one of the many newsletters I get…. this one is from Teresa Romain.  Here’s just one paragraph from her newsletter:


Far too often, I’ve used positive thinking to “make things okay” that are not okay.  I’ve used positive thinking as a way of avoiding dealing with things that are uncomfortable, unpleasant, scary, or plain ol’ hard.  I often use “positive thinking” to deny or avoid feeling emotions like sadness, anger, grief, frustration, discouragement, fear.  


We (and I include myself) think that positive thinking makes us feel better and maybe it does – for the short term.   But if positive thinking is being used (consciously or subconsciously) to deny reality or avoid feeling or dealing with something we don’t like – it’s really NOT going to make us feel better.  It becomes a “band-aid” instead of a cure. 

Denial is certainly not a good thing.  So…… I’m going to admit right now that things aren’t OK.  Don’t get me wrong….. they could be much worse, but dealing with an illness can get depressing.  It’s been really hard to be motivated to get much done.  Perhaps it’s just an excuse….  since picking up the phone and making a few calls is surely not going to ‘tire’ me out in any way!

Here’s another point Teresa Romain makes…. which I love.  What does this say?  IAMNOWHERE   There are two ways to read that.  Either I AM NOWHERE ….  OR …… I AM NOW HERE.  I choose the later.  Here’s how she applies it to feeling down:

What if, instead of trying to put a “positive” spin on “I AM NOWHERE” – you simply admitted and accepted “I AM NOW HERE”.  No judgment – positive or negative.  And if your NOW HERE is not what you want or it’s not working for you – what if you used your energy to take action (one step at a time) to deal with that and move toward what you do want.  Believe me, that’s a MUCH more productive use of your energy than trying to put a “positive spin” on everything.

Today, I’m admitting that “I am now here” .  Not at all where I want to be, but I can deal with it one step at a time.  “This too shall pass”.  These Shingles will heal and the pain will subside.  I guess I should refer myself back to my own post about ‘Baby Steps’, huh?

I’m grateful for Teresa Romain’s newsletter this week.  It made me realize that I can give myself permission to be a little down.  I can  accept that this is where I am at the moment and that I can make improvements, not only physically, but mentally!  As long as I don’t wallow in the frustration forever!

I am Grateful!  How are you?


Good Attitude

Have you ever been around a person who just sucked all the energy out of a room?  And not in a good way?

Yesterday my husband played in a softball tournament.  One of the teams they played against had one of the most unpleasing team members I have ever seen!  It didn’t matter what the call was or how well someone made a play…. he was constantly complaining!  No one could do anything right.  He contested call after call and even got mad at the Umpire when his own team batted out of order and he didn’t catch it!  (Bare in mind there was no one in the score keepers box)  I mean…… who turns in their own team for batting out of order?  It probably wasn’t even done on purpose!   Apparently it was more than the guy could take, because he stormed out of the ballpark!

I found out a little later that he used to play on our team a few years ago.  The funny thing is…. I don’t remember!  Maybe it’s because my mind chose to block out such an unpleasant memory!  It was his bad attitude that caused our team owner not to ask him back the next year.  Imagine that!  I jokingly asked someone if he was married… and they said NO…. divorced…. in fact twice!  Well…. that was a no brainer!  It’s awful to say, but I can’t imagine living with someone that is so negative all the time!  I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live with yourself!

I see myself as a relatively happy person.  I’m not perfect, but I try to remain positive and see the good in things.  Sometimes I fall short and have to re-visit my thoughts…. but for the most part, I’m a pretty happy person.  Of course, the fact that I’m married to a jewel of a man, have terrific kids and have extremely nice living conditions helps….. but I still think I’ve always tried to be happy.  Living with the attitude of “I’ll be happy when…..”  is not a way to live.  All the laws of the universe and religion teach us that we need to be happy with what we have now, no matter what the state, in order to bring abundance into our lives.  If you can’t be grateful for what you have now….. what makes you think you’ll be grateful for it when you have what you think you want?

Have you noticed how people who complain about certain things all the time only seem to attract more of what they are complaining about?  It’s back to the theory of ‘we are what we think about’ or we create what we think about.  Buddha said,  “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”  Our minds are very powerful.  I’ve heard countless stories of people who overcome the odds just by being determined and believing and thinking they would.  There are many, many, many books out there about this concept, but one of my favorites is AS A MAN THINKETH by James Allen.  It was written years ago, but the principles are as true now as they were then.  You can even download free copies of it off the internet.  Just Google it and you should find a free e-book link.  Another great book, but a little harder read is THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill.  For a small shipping fee, you can get a free copy of that here.

I am grateful that I try to maintain a good attitude most of the time and that I try to surround myself with others who do the same.  Thanks to all of you who try to see the good in things and try to feel gratitude for what you have now.  It’s a much more pleasant way to live!

I am Grateful!  How are you?