This last round of chemo really, really kicked me hard. Between trying to fight nausea, fever, regaining feeling in my hands and feet, trying to stop my heart from pounding out of my chest and drifting in and out of coherence – it has not been a fun week. Even Netflix is royally pissing me off. For the moments I was awake, I was miserable- cranky and feeling very sorry for myself. After all, what’s worse than having cancer?
Then something happened that jolted me into reality. A friend (and fellow breast cancer warrior) reached out and shared the most awful news I could imagine (not cancer-related), knocking everything completely into perspective. There are worse things than cancer. A lot of them.
Ever since my diagnosis my entire world has revolved around me and my cancer (thank you, #TeamWonderli). There hasn’t been time to think about the normal day to day fears that usually keep me up at night. But hearing this news, it reminded me of the world outside of “Lianne having cancer” and made me immediately thankful for my current situation. I know, it sounds crazy, being thankful to have cancer. And in transparency, I’m not so thankful for the cancer, but the fact that I get to be with my family during this really crappy time. Thrown into perspective, there are so many things that could be worse than my current situation. Things that would crush us that are out of our control. Those are situations I would gladly take chemo over again if it meant I could avoid experiencing them in this lifetime. But they are things that happen as a part of life. We can’t predict or avoid our battles, we can only do our best to fight them. As Sheryl Sandberg once shared after losing her dear husband – when Option A isn’t available, we must do everything we can to “kick the shit out of Option B.” My friend’s news reminded me that there are far scarier things than having cancer, and for that- I am thankful. Thankful to have hope, to be with loved ones, and to be alive.
To truly savor the good, you have to experience the bad. I can’t do much for my sweet friend at the moment but what I can do is honor what she’s going through by passing this message along. Be thankful for each moment because all we have is today.
As I’m finally regaining a bit of clarity back to the real world, I am floored by the amount of support over a contest photo I had posted right before going into my last round of chemo earlier this week. I had texted a few friends asking if they can help me repost but I woke up from my chemo haze, days later to countless messages, emails, texts, and enough Instagram “likes to be a top contender. (Your excitement and support is truly inspiring, from the bottom of my heart – thank you!)
On a whim, I entered this @JonRenau human wig contest because I thought it was ridiculous to have to pay so much for a human hair wig (they range from a couple to tens of thousands of dollars without insurance coverage!) and hey, it’d be cool to get one for free. Nice to have but definitely not a necessity for me. Why? Because if I’m lucky- this hair loss thing is temporary. As I’m looking at over 50 entries from women all over, reality is- each one is fighting their own battle- some permanent, others temporary, but each with their own networks rooting for them. There’s women fighting diseases, women posting for their mothers, women who have permanent alopecia, women who didn’t list reasons but clearly entered for a reason. All of them, equally deserving of support. It’s not important to me ultimately whether I win a human hair wig but it is most important to me that we continue to create a world where people support each other and are thankful for each moment. So today, as we celebrate the beginning of a new Lunar Year – please do me one favor.
Whether you’re having the worst day or the best day- stop for a second and just live in the moment. Enjoy this very second no matter what you are going through. Truly embrace it and be thankful for it. There’s always someone worse off than you and even if you don’t feel like it- know that today you are one of the lucky ones. Be thankful to have your Option A, live with no regrets and never let a memory haunt you in the future because you didn’t bother to enjoy it in the moment. For I’d rather be doing something I hate with the people I love most, than to not be with them at all. None of us knows what tomorrow brings, all we have is today.
That’s it. Thank you for the favor.