At 4:30 a.m. on this winter solstice during the weirdest year EVER, I turned 42. When I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2017 at the age of 38, I wondered if I would even see 40 since just getting the diagnosis felt as if death was imminent. Well, I saw 40 and then some. I’m about 3.5 years into the experience of living with MBC and I continue to learn more about what it means to be living while dying every day.
I would be remiss not to mention that 2020 has been rough. I know that COVID and the quarantining has been tough on so many people and I know that everyone has their own struggles to bear. For those of us who are terminal and are constantly hearing about men and women in our community who die because of MBC and treatment, it’s been especially brutal. So many dear friends who I saw last in 2019 have died. Mourning those precious souls from afar is just not the same and not being able to connect to our community in person has affected us all in various ways.
And yet, despite all of the struggles in our home, in our family, in our country, in the world, I am grateful to have traveled another trip around the sun. I am grateful for the time I have had with my husband, my boys, my parents, my friends, to use that time to learn, to advocate, to just be.
I’m not very good at just “being,” I’m much more comfortable with “doing.” Yet, my boys teach me every day about being in the moment, about enjoying NOW.
And so this is my wish for myself and for all of you, on this anniversary of my birth and every day …
- that we will all be firmly rooted in the present
- that we will value and enjoy those who want to be with us, rather than pining for those who choose to not be present
- that we will keep our gaze on what is, rather than what might be
- that we will look for ways to be grateful
- that we will look for reasons to be joyful
- that we will give a real compliment whenever possible
- that we will speak to others as if they are the most wonderful gift to the world
- that we will look for ways to help, unique to our abilities
- that we will not hesitate to ask for help
- that we will look for ways to care for ourselves
- that we will look opportunities to truly connect with others
- that we will be vulnerable when it matters
- that we will not be afraid to do whatever it is we need to do
- and that we will find others to do this life with.
If you are so inclined, here is the link to my birthday fundraiser for the 305PinkPack, a local 501(c)(3) that supports women in active treatment for early stage disease and those of us who are metastatic, the Pack supports us 24/7. Check it out and give if you have some extra funds this holiday season. I’m asking everyone to give $42 in honor of my 42nd birthday, a birthday that I didn’t think I would see alive.