24 Lessons to help savor the joy and heartbreak of life with cancer


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"Life is a series of disastrous moments, painful moments, unexpected moments, and things that will break your heart. In between those moments: that is when you savor, savor, savor." ~Sandra BullockAs Thanksgiving approaches, I am pulling from the thoughts of Sandra Bullock because life this year has been a series of all these challenges and more. Yet, it has given way to much celebration. There has been disaster in ways that are hard to describe, the pain of my mom's cancer diagnosis and the fear that ensued, the unexpected blessing of stable scans for myself, and heartbreaking loss of friends that were dear.Life can, and has, thrown some difficult hurdles in my direction. However, there has been a cadence to the way life works and it has been in the breathtaking moments when the world should stand still, with little or no control, that I have felt unknown strength and abundant blessings. Most of these blessings that I so gratefully enjoy include the muchness of family, special milestones and everyday magic. These days are relished because of the treatments and medical team that have worked so hard to keep me here...and this year to even give me a new smile. I cherish my friendships, too, for it has often been the simple touch, cyber hug or powerful thought that has given me the courage and hope to move forward. So, as I savor the "cancer calm" in the storm of stable tumors, these are some of the lessons for which I am forever grateful.1. "Love is the answer." Jane and AJ Ali2. "You are where you want to be." Loretta Baker3. "Life is a treasure chest. What is your treasure today?" Leon Davis4. "The bumble bee isn't supposed to be able to fly, and you aren't supposed to survive.But the bumble bee flies and you WILL survive." Jean DiCarlo Wagner5. "Take a deep breath." Jean DiCarlo Wagner6. "Hope is dope!" Snoop Dog7. "Instead of thinking "it could be worse," remember "it can get better!" Desiree Gray8. "Everyone is terminal; no one more and no one less." Gordon Gwosdow9. "The footprints of friends will carry you and you have one very special angel watching over you." Russ Howard10. "Oh Happy Day!" Bonita Jones11. "Cherish the golden gossamer threads of life." Shirley Laverne12. "We can make it to the top. We are angels!" Kevin Lebret-White13. "We are here for each other through good and bad." Vicki Lehman14. "No one can take away your ability to have hope." Keith Lyons15. "Life doesn't happen around you, it happens between your own two ears." Keith Lyons16. "Life is the most precious thing we have." Dalia MacPhee17. "Hold fast and shine brightly." Brian McLeod18. "Life is fabulous!" Erica Paul19. "Talk doesn't cook rice." An old Chinese proverb I first heard from Nancy Roach20. "If you go outside the box and open up yourself to new experiences, joy is there for the taking." Pam Schmid21. "We have been blessed to know things others don't yet understand, and our challenge is a great one: We understand our mortality, and we revel in the blessing of every breath we draw and every day we see. Our job is to bring a little heaven to earth, in the form of faith and love." Tony Snow22. "It's all about hope." Tami Thennis 23. "Find some hope." Shelly Weiler24. Last but not least, Ronnie Lindley: "It will be OK!" I am humbled by the rhythm of life; how it ebbs and flows. I am thankful for ALL of you that walk with me through the tragedies and triumphs of each day. You are treasured souls who have shown me that beauty often lies in the midst of struggle. You have helped me to strengthen my resolve. So as you enjoy the days and weeks to come with family and friends, however and wherever that may be; know that I am grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours. And with the words of Sandra Bullock, "Savor, savor, savor!"

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