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My birthday wishes September 12, 2017

My birthday wishes

Birthdays have always been special days in my family. My parents made each new year fun and happy. We didn’t have bounce houses, farm animals or huge parties like are in excess today, but I loved the sleepovers, house full of family and friends, and laugh-filled celebrations with my favorite Angel food cake.

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When I was diagnosed at 21 with bone cancer, appreciating and celebrating life took on new meanings. I spent my 22nd birthday in the hospital hooked up to an IV of chemo, feeling too nauseous to eat cake (I think my then-pregnant older sister and favorite resident doctor enjoyed my piece!). I promised myself that every birthday from that year on would be a time to reflect on life and remind myself to wrap my arms around the joy of life.

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EEdwards_lifequoteToday, on my birthday, I’m in Washington, DC, ready to join hundreds of other cancer advocates on Capitol Hill in meetings with our various legislators to discuss the importance of increased funding for cancer research and supporting cancer-related programs. It’s a long way to come from that birthday 20 years ago spent in the hospital fighting for my life and leg. A slew of emotions are whirling through me.

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Every year that I celebrate another birthday is a joyous occasion for me. And not one that I take for granted. I will soon have spent more of my life as a cancer survivor than not. What an emotional accomplishment. The past 20 years have been full of ups and downs. I whispered goodbye to my dad as he died from cancer, battling survivor’s guilt almost daily when I think of the life he’s missing. I’ve picked pieces of my heart up more than once, broken sometimes because of my naivete and other times by people I should have been able to trust. I worked tirelessly to remind my body how to walk after surgery…twice. I felt lost and alone many times. I rethought Plan A so many times that I no longer remember what my original life plan was! I’ve learned life is hard. There’s no guidebook, no getting back lost time, no map, no time outs, no re-dos to change something. Sometimes life knocks you flat on your tush. Again and again. And yet…..life is still beautiful. There is sunshine, laughter, kindness, unexpected love, blue skies, hugs, music, mountains, beaches and So.Much.More.

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In January, I dubbed this year as my Best.Year.Ever. Of course I had no idea what the year would bring because I’ve certainly learned you can’t control all that will happen, but I needed goals. And, darn, it’s been a good year. I’m at the lowest weight and best overall health that I’ve been in many years, I logged more miles on a bike than I ever thought possible (the year isn’t over, and I’m already planning how to ride more next year!), I’ve traveled to new places and experienced fun adventures, I’ve been involved with amazing cancer advocacy opportunities with several more exciting possibilities on the horizon, I’ve met so many awesome people and strengthened relationships with people who bring so much joy to my life, and the list goes on. Of course, there are things I’d like to still accomplish with my career and personal life….but there’s still plenty of time left in the year!

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What will a new day bring?

I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone over the years but none more so than almost two years ago when I decided to change the negativity, mundane and discontented cycle my life had slipped into. It was unnerving, very unnerving, to step into the unknown by myself. I had to ignore the doubters and really focus on what I wanted out of life. But I had to do it. For me. And I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to find so much joy, contentment, adventure and satisfaction from those changes. I didn’t realize how much I was holding back happiness until I decided I was worth it and deserved it. Was it easy to leave a relationship and life I thought I wanted and society said I should stay in? Not at all. But I wanted, and needed, to open my heart to the possibility of true love, happiness and real life. And, no, life hasn’t been all sunshine and dancing unicorns; that’s not how life works. But, heck, it’s been good.

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I had a recent conversation with a friend relating to religion and spiritual views. It got me thinking about life in general. It reinforced that just because society says you should think this, or live your life ‘this way,’ the truth is you must do what works for you. And that sometimes is difficult. Because other people may get hurt, or it takes more courage than we’re used to, or others tell us it’s not right, or stepping over that edge into the unknown is heart-stopping. Sometimes, actually often, life takes us on a very unexpected path. Maybe you find a career that you surprisingly enjoy, maybe you meet someone who captures your heart at ‘the wrong’ time (by the way, don’t waste life waiting for the right time), maybe your health doesn’t stay as perfect as hoped. That’s all okay. I know it can be scary, tiring and worrisome. If we let it. Because sometimes the people and experiences we encounter, that are off the ‘traditional path’ of life, are the very ones for us. I’ve learned that often the unexpected moments, plans and people turn out to be exactly what we need to help us find our ultimate path in life, joy and love.

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I’m feeling a bit philosophical this year, and I realize I’m babbling a bit. But, hey, it’s my birthday and sometimes turning a year older makes you pause to think about life. I believe it’s important to check in with yourself every so often.

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What’s my birthday wish? I have a few (again, it’s my birthday so bear with me!). You all find happiness. You find courage to live the life you want. Don’t waste a day. Don’t be afraid to open your heart. Take a chance on adventure and happiness, take care of your health and body, explore the neighborhood and world around you. Share your feelings with people you care about, help someone, be kind, stand up for others. Don’t sit on the couch watching the days go by. When I close my eyes and make my birthday wish, I know what I hope for my life. If you had a wish, what would it be? Think about it…..and go for it!

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You are beautiful wearing your bike helmet August 31, 2017

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Post-ride sweaty, happy appearance

I recently enjoyed a beautiful evening bike ride on a local bike trail. While I started out alone, I often encountered other cyclists throughout the 30+ miles who rode alongside for several miles here and there. I loved the friendly people and awesome reminder of how great summer evenings can be.

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At one point, I started to pass a young woman on her bike. She struck up a conversation so I stayed alongside her. We had great conversation and rode an almost perfect pace together. As the miles clicked by, I really enjoyed cycling with her. However, one thing kept nagging at me – she wasn’t wearing a helmet.

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I try to keep opinions to myself on lots of things because I believe people should make decisions best for them and others shouldn’t be quick to judge. But…..she asked me many questions about my Specialized Ruby (and you all know I LOVE my bike) and some tips about being new to cycling. So I decided it was a good opening to mention the helmet.

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She smiled when I suggested wearing a helmet, actually agreed that she really should wear one. Then she asked if I was single. I replied yes, although I had no idea what that had to do with wearing a bike helmet. Turns out, she feels she looks silly in a helmet and her hair is a mess after a ride. What if she met a good-looking guy while biking or at the parking lot? Uh, okay. A whole lot of thoughts raced through my head, including flashes of how crazy, frizzy and completely messy my hair looks after I take off my helmet! I have passed a mirror or reflection after many rides and thought ‘oh my goodness, am I in public looking like that?’ But I can’t recall worrying that a guy won’t find me pretty because I’m sweaty and my hair is a mess after an awesome bike ride. If anything, I want to be with a guy who enjoys participating in these type of activities with me, appreciates the effort it takes to get sweaty and messy, and also understands I clean up pretty nicely.

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I almost replied “I think you’ll be much more beautiful with your head intact.” But you know, I wasn’t sure how to kindly say that. Lol. I also recognize that she is 27 and I am in my early 40s, so I have a bit more ‘worldly experience’ and a few more relationships on my side. I’m at a point in my life where people need to accept me for me. Especially my next significant other. I have learned to be true to myself, particularly over the past few years. The next man I’m with must take me as I am, crazy helmet hair and all. That means the sappy, emotional moments and energetic, dance around the living room moments and confident, take on the world moments and feeling overwhelmed, I need support and encouragement moments and goofy, singing in the car moments and everything in between. I want that man to be willing to share, laugh, love and choose me. To not judge so much and expect me to change who I am. I don’t want to settle for a “sort of happy and make it work because that’s expected” relationship. I want mutual real, true happiness, joy, laughter, support and encouragement in my next relationship. Heck, I want that in my life, whether it’s with a special man, friends or family. I want to enjoy the good moments, work through the tough moments, appreciate the good people in my life and embrace the opportunities awaiting me. That’s why I made the decision to change my life a few years ago and that’s why I wear a helmet every time I bike (and I’d rather not suffer a head injury). I want to do everything possible to be alive to enjoy and experience life.

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When you love what you’re doing, you forget you might look a mess. 🙂

To be honest, I didn’t always wear a helmet when biking. I wore one when biking near traffic but when on the rails to trails routes, I sometimes would simply wear a baseball hat to block the sun. And, frankly, what hit me a few years ago was this realization: I busted my butt to survivor bone cancer and am always careful not to hurt my leg with the titanium rod.  How stupid to survive all that, only to suffer a brain injury because I didn’t have a helmet.

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Oops, I think I digressed. Ha. Focus, lady. Back to my point about wearing a bike helmet. Consider these facts:

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  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that less than half of all Americans who ride bicycles wear helmets.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 45,000 bicycle injuries in 2015 (latest stats), with cyclists age 50-59 having the highest rate of injury
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that head injuries are the cause of death for the majority of bicyclists killed in accidents with automobiles. Helmet use is estimated to reduce the risk of head injury in these cases by 85 percent.
  • Eighty-five percent of bicycle-related head and brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, according to the Snell Memorial Foundation and Safety Education Center. The center also reports the number of bicycle head injuries annually that require hospitalization “exceeds the total of all head injury cases — including baseball, football, skateboards, scooters, horseback riding injuries.
  • If you’re in any sort of accident with your helmet that may have damaged the helmet’s padding, replace it. The plastic and expandable foam that absorbs the impact and protects your head may no longer able to absorb the impacts. If you notice the plastic cracking, replace it (regardless if you’ve been in an accident).
  • There’s no good research on if a helmet has a ‘shelf life’ but most of what I read suggested replacing a helmet after five years, unless you use it excessively, sweat a lot, wear lots of hair gel, etc. Anything that may make the foam padding decompose, the plastic crack or damages the straps.
  • Make sure your bike helmet meets safety standards and fits properly. If you’re uncertain, visit a reputable bike shop to ask for assistance.
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These are sobering statistics and reminder that biking can be amazing fun and great exercise, but requires a degree of caution and safety (as most activities!). I shared in a previous blog post that a good friend was recently injured after a fall from his bike. Afterwards, I held his bike helmet in my hands, with dings and dents very visible. It was unnerving. His head was thankfully well-protected. What a real example of the importance of wearing a helmet!

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The young woman I biked with? We talked about relationships and being yourself, not settling for anyone – whether significant other, friend or even family – who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are. And we also discussed strategies for post-helmet hair. When we parted miles later, she smiled and promised to buy a helmet. I assured her that she would look beautiful.

 

Back to basics in the new year (5 goals for 2017) December 30, 2016

A few months back a friend talked me into going to see a tarot card reader to find out what’s in store for my future. I had never been to one and admit I had bit of trepidation. What might she tell me?

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Cheers to a new year!

The woman was very welcoming and sweet. She asked what I might want to focus on learning. I really didn’t have a specific focus; mostly wondering if, after making some major life changes in the early year, I was on the right path and what might come in the future, if she could tell. I didn’t admit that I wasn’t sure I really believed these cards could tell about my life…but I was willing to give it a try. At this point in my life, I feel so open to new experiences (one of my new mottos is “bring it on, life.”)! I shuffled the deck and then she started laying out cards on the table. I waited with bated breath while she studied the cards. Then she smiled and said, “Wow you’ve been through a lot, but there so much positive energy and love in your future.” Well how about that? I could have walked out with that bit of refreshing news, but she had more to share. As we talked about the cards’ various meanings, it admittedly was a bit eerie when she commented on things that had happened in my life (health challenges, relationship ending, etc.) that I didn’t tell her (and she had no way of knowing). Then she mentioned things that I’ve been pondering professionally (according to her will be successful!) and house hunting struggles (soon to end!). And the cards indicate my love life will be very full of love, happiness and…… well I’ll keep some of that to myself so I can see how it plays out.

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I know that I am still the person in charge of my present and future, however, it’s nice to have someone say that I’m on the right path. The overall message was to be open and ready for the many positive things that will happen in the new year. I walked out feeling hopeful and excited about my future.

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Whether or not you ‘believe’ in tarot cards and all that, the point is that I liked the message of being open and ready. I am an admitted planner, so often like to plan things. I make lists, schedule things in advance and probably overthink too much. I worry about other people’s feelings, which often time slips into my plans and sometimes even alters what I do in my life (I’ve realized there is a threshold of being too nice). I’ve been learning that I can still focus on my life while being kind, helpful and supportive to others.

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What I’ve really learned in my 40+ years on earth is that not every year, not every moment, will be perfect joy. Not every situation ends in joy. And that’s okay (although it doesn’t always feel okay). We sometimes need those less than stellar moments to guide us into a new version of life and our self. Remember that you’ll make it. Despite sadness, confusion and frustration, there is always hope. That’s at least what I hold onto. There are new chapters to write, new adventures to experience, new people to meet and new moments to heal and fill the heart.

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So that’s what I am bringing into the new year. I’m walking into it with my arms open, ready to live life with laughter, smiles, an open heart and…hope. Lots and lots of hope.

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I usually like to set specific goals for myself each year (shocking from the planner!). This year I want to focus on more simple, yet motivating goals for myself.

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Find what fills your heart with happiness.

Happiness. The quote below from the Dalai Lama is so true. You can’t rely on others to create happiness for you. I believe that life is what you make of it. I don’t always like what happens in life – I didn’t like getting cancer, didn’t like my dad being diagnosed and dying from cancer, didn’t like having a failed marriage, didn’t like the sadness and challenges affecting my family and friends. But through each of these, we all had to pick ourselves up, dust off and move forward. Hopefully with support from others, yet mostly it’s your own decision on how you move forward. With your head high and hope in your heart? I admit that earlier in the year, I was ready to accept that this year would be blah and slow moving as I transitioned. But it really wasn’t. There have been so many times that my heart felt so full of love and happiness that I thought it might burst. Or I’d start crying tears of joy and relief (yes, that happened once or twice). When I recently commented to a friend that I’m touched at the love and joy in my life, she said she wouldn’t expect it any other way because I’m so open to being happy and sharing love that it’s natural those type of people would gravitate to me too. It’s an interesting thought and one I’ll accept because I love and appreciate all of you who bring your own sense of love and joy. Part of creating your own happiness is keeping the ‘right’ people in your life, the ones who reciprocate the time and energy needed to keep a relationship/friendship moving forward, the ones who bring their own joy and happiness so they don’t suck yours away. Simply put, I love being happy and am going to focus on bringing so much more of that to my life, and others, in the new year.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama

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Love. I admit it, I’m a romantic. Not ‘I need a bunch of gifts’ romantic type, but ‘kindness, affection, sweet gestures, remembering things I shared, exploring and creating new memories together’ romantic. Real true love is unselfish, kind and joyous. It makes you feel vulnerable, yet won’t hurt you. It makes you smile at the simplest gestures and words because you know it’s genuine. It’s crazy fun, and simple, relaxing moments together. It’s long talks about life, and quiet compatibility. I have not given up on love. I’ve definitely learned some lessons and my mind is aware. Yet, my heart is open. And while I am opening my heart and arms to romantic love, I’m also wrapping my arms around love in general. Love of family and friends, love of simple things and actions, love of life. As my tarot cards suggested, I’m open and ready to accept love in all forms.

“Love is when he gives you a piece of your soul that you never knew was missing.” ~ Torquato Tasso

“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

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So many places to explore!

Adventures. I feel like 2017 is a new adventure waiting for me to explore. So I want to be more spontaneous and open to new opportunities. I love traveling. I love to not just travel but explore new places, meet local people and learn new things about locations, cultures and more. Having adventures isn’t just about traveling to new locales, it’s about being open to people, activities, foods, drinks, opportunities and more! But no worries if you haven’t been bitten by the travel bug, adventures are also about stepping out of your comfort zone. Join a social group (check out meetup.com for tons of options in your area), try an activity, learn a language. There’s so much to do and see in the world around us. I don’t plan to sit on my couch while time moves by me. Do you?

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~ Helen Keller

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Health. I’m always slightly obsessed with my health. I guess cancer does that. This is different though. I want to be even healthier and more focused. I want to feel energized and simply feel good as many moments as I can. So what does that mean? I want my body to feel as strong and confident as it did before bone cancer. Okay, I realize that I was 21 when I was diagnosed so feeling 21 in my 40s is probably wishful thinking….my point is that I felt confident and completely sure of myself. I trusted my body. Cancer raised a distrust and then a dip in confidence from the titanium rod in my femur/tibia. I hesitate to try activities because I’m worried I might hurt myself. I don’t plan to throw all caution to the wind in the new year, because I sure as heck won’t jeopardize my leg, but I want to feel confidence when I try new activities or push myself in a current. For instance, I want to bike a few hundred miles on my new road bike and feel confident that I can do it. So I’ll be setting some goals to get healthier and stronger (and maybe reward myself with a cute new outfit).

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“If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” ~ Steve Jobs

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Hello, you!

Me. It’s always a little odd for me to say I’m going to focus on…me. It kind of feels a little self-centered or selfish, yet what I realized this year is that you sometimes need to be selfish in your ‘me’ time. And it’s not truly being selfish. If you’re not happy and well, then you can’t truly help others. This past year was the first in a long time that I truly stood up for myself, making difficult decisions, having honest conversations and focusing on what I needed. It was at times unnerving and challenging; it was also liberating and stress-relieving. In the end, these were actions that I needed to take so I can live the life that I want and should. I learned how to be an advocate for myself, recognizing that if I can’t stand up for myself, how can I truly help others? I had a very real moment this past spring when I was in my Washington, DC hotel room after cancer advocacy training, networking, and dinner and drinks with new friends – as I mentally reviewed the previous two days of fun, accomplishment and laughter, I suddenly fell back onto the bed, smiling ear to ear and thought, “welcome back, my friend.” Because in that moment, I realized my heart felt so very full and light, laughter bubbled out and I remembered what it felt like to be me. And I had missed just being me. So going forward I’m going to just be me. Because, honestly, who else should I be?

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“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~ Walt Disney

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A dear person in my life told me to make 2017 the best year ever. It is some solid advice that I can grab onto and run with. Ready to join me?

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“The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

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May the sun set on this year and rise high in the new year!

 

40 reasons to love life (and birthdays) September 11, 2015

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I can hardly believe that my 30s are rapidly coming to an end and a new decade is upon me. In a few days I will turn 40 years old. Wow. That age once seemed so far away.

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Explore the land around you.

Explore the land around you.

Birthdays are a big deal in my family. Always have been, but especially so after my cancer diagnosis and my dad’s death from cancer. I spent my 22nd birthday in the hospital with an IV dripping chemo into my veins (although my entire family filled my hospital room to sing me happy birthday, even if I felt too terrible to eat much cake). I vowed to never complain about my age because it is blessing to be alive to celebrate another day, let alone another year. Of course, I still contemplate life and what I’ve accomplished in my almost 40 years on the planet. Sure, surviving cancer is a major accomplishment (although what choice did I have except to fight like hell?) but, honestly, I want to be known for more than cancer, for being a cancer survivor is just a piece of who I am. Some days I know exactly what I want in life, and other days those goals seem to allude me. Some days I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in almost 40 years. Other days I get frustrated that I haven’t achieved more. And I don’t mean collecting material things. More focus on happiness, contentment, friendship, love and laughter. I want to explore the world, make a difference in the lives of others, and be a good person. I want fulfillment in relationships, family, a career and even with myself.

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On the eve of my 40th birthday, I am stepping back to review my life. I’m satisfied with many pieces of it, and restless with others. I’m happy with pieces of who I have become, and will strive harder to change or improve other pieces. Life is a constantly evolving state. I’m thankful to be part of it. In my reflection, these are some of the lessons I’ve learned through (almost) 40 years:

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Climbing to the top of a sand dune - very rewarding!

Climbing to the top of a sand dune – very rewarding!

1. Feel grateful for every minute you are alive.

2. Stop judging people. Don’t judge people because they aren’t like you, don’t like the same things or choose a different path in life. You don’t know their lives.

3. Don’t cyber-bully. Think twice before posting that Facebook or Twitter criticism. Hiding behind a computer screen is weak.

4. Accept your past. It happened, it’s over, learn from it, move on.

5. Live in the present, plan for the future.

6. Save money. Achieve a good credit score.

7. Dance like no one is watching, even if someone is. It will make you happy.

8. Have date nights with your significant other. Make sure you take turns planning the date.

9. Show appreciation for someone’s nice gestures to you, even if it’s not quite what you’d do or want. At least they’re trying.

10. Say please and thank you.

11. Pay attention to your finances, even if you’re married. You should always know how much money you have and how much you can save.

12. Don’t ditch your friends because you found a spouse or had a baby. Honor and value the friends who have been there through good and bad, and probably would continue to be there if you made an effort too. I can guarantee you probably still have much in common if you look hard at your friendship.

13. Don’t exert energy on people who don’t care.

14. Laugh. A. LOT.

Enjoy life.

Enjoy life.

15. Know your way around a library. Knowledge is power.

16. Ask a child what he/she wants to do for fun, then do it.

17. Have a play date with a child without using technology or buying them a toy. Use your imagination!

18. Explore outside of your city.

19. Explore outside of your state. We have an AMAZING country.

20. Watch a sunset and sunrise.

21. Have friends of the same sex and spend time together. There is nothing like girlfriends to keep you grounded, happy and supported (I imagine men feel the same about their guy friends).

22. Ride a horse at least once in your life. These beautiful creatures are gentle and majestic.

23. Find a job you enjoy and commit to it. Be proud of your work and build relationships by being kind, professional and fair.

24. Treat people how you want to be treated. Learn to apologize when you’re wrong.

25. Send cards for special occasions or just because. Real cards that require an envelope and postage. Yes, these still exist.

26. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.

27. Don’t take love for granted and don’t assume someone knows how you feel. Say it, show it.

28. Call someone – not text, email or Facebook message – and have a conversation about life. Actually use your phone to make a call and hear the voice. It’s so much better than a text conversation.

29. Take care of your health. Don’t skip the doctor. You only get one body.

30. Help someone out each day. A simple gesture, such as holding the door open, is a kind gesture. Kindness builds great societies.

31. Take time to talk to older people. They carry pieces of our history, and often share great stories.

32. Smile more.

33. Count at least five blessings each day.

34. Call your parents at least once per week (my mom would say more!).

35. Have patience with older people – you will hopefully be one someday. They are our foundation.

36. Have patience with young people – you were once that age. They are our future.

37. Sit outside and feel the gentle breeze and appreciate nature.

38. Wear sunscreen. Seriously, don’t be an idiot. Skin cancer kills. Being alive is better than being tan.

39. Read. Fiction, nonfiction, national news, whatever.

40. Learn to love and accept yourself. This is the most important relationship of your life. You need to be happy and accepting of yourself before you can be of others.

 

When life brings you lemons… count your blessings February 27, 2015

Filed under: Life Lessons — Heather @ 12:51 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Don't worry about a thingYou may be wondering where I’ve been the past few weeks. I haven’t given up on blogging, nor forgotten about this blog and my faithful followers. Unfortunately Michigan’s winter got the best of me and I slipped and fell on an icy/snowy sidewalk. In my haste to protect my leg (with the titanium rod), I landed on my left wrist. And I clearly don’t do anything half-way…I broke it, resulting in surgery to insert a plate and screws. Yes, ouch. Needless to say, it’s been slow-moving for me as I adjust to a few weeks of limitations. Thankfully, I am right-handed but it’s still challenging, especially typing one-handed! So that explains my absence and I hope you accept my apologies and have patience. Because I have a lot of adventures to share and stories to write!

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I admit I have experienced many frustrations during this recovery. You may have noticed I like to be fairly independent so asking for assistance isn’t always easy (my husband has been an amazing help and support through this, anticipating what I may need before I ask!). I admittedly feel ashamed at moments for feeling frustrated. Because you and I know life can be so much worse than a broken wrist that brings short-term inconveniences. I know, however, I am an imperfect human. But in moments of sadness, frustration or pain, I take a deep breath and stop to count my blessings.

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Cheer the little victories. We take a lot for granted at some point in our lives. Even seemingly easy activities like folding laundry and drying your hair become challenging with one hand! I learned to wash my hair, under the bathtub faucet. I made dinner. I removed an old shower curtain (although Justin put the new one on!). I went to the grocery store by myself.

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Cheery get well from friends!

Be thankful for the family and friends who support you. I learned a good lesson about people during chemo….sometimes the people you think will support you don’t show up while the people you don’t expect do. While this surgery wasn’t a life-threatening procedure, I have been so touched by those who have called, text, visited, sent flowers and more. Of course, who doesn’t love to be thought of with kindness and caring? Everyone leads a busy life nowadays, yet I agree more and more with my mom that it becomes a lame excuse and you should never too busy for those you care about.

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Recognize those in need. I am struck multiple times per day by how fortunate I am to be alive and fairly healthy, especially post-cancer. I have my two legs, which is not common with bone cancer. I say a prayer of thanks daily for my health and physical abilities, but there are additional moments that make me pause. There are many people worse off than me, this I recognize daily. This surgery recovery, despite a the pain and huge inconvenience,  is thankfully short-term. I think of the soldiers injured in battle, accident victims, cancer survivors and so many others facing long-term worse case scenarios. I am blessed to be raised by parents who believed in helping others. I try to help others every day, whether through kindness, donations, volunteering and more. We all have much to be grateful for so should all find time.

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Remember that the ability to love, laugh and appreciate life makes everything okay. It’s true that laughter is the best medicine. And feeling loved. I can’t tell you how much better I’ve felt the past few days after relaxing with my husband on the couch, laughing with my best friend during her visit, feeling hugs from my family, getting help from  my nieces and nephew (I made my 7-year-old niece’s day by asking her to zip my jacket!), phone calls with friends, getting a text from so many friends checking in on me. Of course the distractions deflect the pain and frustrations post-surgery but the love easily helps with the healing. Today I looked out the window and thought what a beautiful day – for despite the frigid temps and snow, the sun was shining brightly and two squirrels were chasing each other up and down a tree (their antics were quite amusing!).

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What blessings do you count? What makes you feel better during tough moments?

 

 
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