This week I decided to stop being a chicken and actually tell my friends outright that I am writing a blog and share the link with them. I was nervous and a bit embarrassed! But people have been really, really kind and supportive, and I'm glad I shared.
This post is dedicated to, and especially aimed at, all the people who read this that know me personally....
I love compliments. My aim is to be one of those confident, self assured people who doesn't need approval from others, but I'm not there yet. I care what other people think of me and so I love getting compliments! But I think I generally have a good idea about whether or not a compliment is deserved. Since being diagnosed with cancer I have lost count of the number of times people have told me I am brave, strong and inspirational. I'd love to be brave, strong and inspirational, but I'm not and I want to set the record straight here. Actually, two out of the three just don't apply to me. The third, I would like to work on, starting today.
I'm bloody not! Bravery is facing up to something without showing fear. I'm terrified! And I have no choice in this matter either. I have cancer. I can't change that. The only way to (hopefully) "beat it" is to have chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. It's not brave to do these things, it's the only option I have. I got my appointment for my chemotherapy introduction session in the post today. It's on Monday (yeah! effing cancer has ruined my plans yet again!), and so I'm almost certainly starting chemo within the next week. Anxiety levels are rapidly increasing now. I'm sure on the day itself I will be crying like a baby. Not brave.
Nope! As above, I don't have any choice but to get on with things. In one of my early blog posts written before I was diagnosed, I said that I do not have the strength that my mom did, and that I wouldn't cope with cancer. Turns out, you do just get on with things, because you have to. But if I appear to have displayed any strength it isn't my own. I'm being held up, and held together by the people around me. I fucking love my friends! They are the ones who are being strong for me. I don't feel like I'm fighting cancer on my own. I've got the hardest, baddest, most formidable army of friends all around me. That's where the strength comes from. (By the way, thank you peeps, I love you. Mwah! Mwah! XO)
Errrrrrr.... I actually have no idea why people keep telling me I'm inspirational. I think all people have seen me doing so far is going out and getting drunk a lot. I don't think people should be inspired by that. (And drinking alcohol increases your risk of breast cancer, folks. Don't do it!)
However, I suppose really there is more to what I'm doing than getting drunk a lot, and while I don't think I'll ever be brave or strong, I guess inspirational is something I would like to aspire to. So I would like to explain, because there is something that's been bothering me recently. It came up in a conversation with a friend today, and has been on my mind all afternoon, so I decided to write about it. (Friends, pay attention - this is the bit I am aiming at you.)
You only get one life. Make the most of it. I'm not talking about the big picture. It doesn't work like that. You have to make the most of every day, one day at a time.
When I was diagnosed with cancer my world stopped. I spent 3 days in shock, struggling to come to terms with what I'd been told. Then I made a decision to make the most of every moment I have that I am feeling well. (Before, during and after treatment). I think some people have been surprised that I have been happy over the last few weeks, and have been having lots of fun. That's a very conscious choice and effort. Soon enough I am likely to be spending a lot of time with my head in a toilet, rubbing coconut oil in to my sore, bald head and bonjela into my ulcerated mouth (possibly simultaneously). I'll deal with it when it happens, but right now I feel well (when I'm not hungover). At the moment, every day, I have a choice. Worry, stress, get upset, be miserable. Or go out and enjoy myself while I can. It's a no brainer isn't it?
Being diagnosed with cancer has made me see that I do have a choice, every day. And I am choosing to make the most of every day that I've got. If I could possibly be in any way inspirational to other people, then I'd like it to be because of this.
Friends, don't waste your days, make the most of every one of them. If you are healthy, you are lucky. Don't take it for granted.
Don't stress unnecessarily over the little things. If you're guilty of looking for things to be miserable about, stop it. Don't feel hard done by every time something doesn't go your way. Life can be difficult and unfair, but try and keep some perspective, and pay attention to all the things that are good in your life. If you don't have cancer, you could start with being grateful for that! If that comes across as a bit stroppy, it's because I am actually being a little bit stroppy, but I think I have the right to at this point in my life, right?! Seriously, don't let the little things get to you. They're not worth it.
Don't like your job? Change it. (If you think that's scary (and it is) or don't know where to start then I can recommend this book: How to find fulfilling work. It was recommended to me by a friend and I thought it was brilliant.)
Stuck in a rut? Try something new. Maybe learn something new, or do some volunteering!
Had the same circle of friends for years? However lovely they are, go out and meet some more new people. I don't think you can have too many friends. (Maybe have a look at Meetup and find something you're interested in doing. This is where I found my book club (read: beer club) and yes, I was worried at first that because it was something I found on the internet I'd turn up and be greeted by a bunch of weirdos, but that's not what happened. The other people are as nice and non-weird as me. Ha!)
Something you want to do but you're scared to? Be brave! Do it! (Maybe read this book, it's actually quite good!) Missing someone? Go and see them. Love someone? Tell them. (Equally, hate someone because they're mean to you? Tell them to fuck off! Do it!)
You only get one life peeps, make the most of it while you can. Can't think there's much worse than regretting not doing something after the opportunity has passed.