It’s the last day of October, and the last of my series sharing my cancer story. I opened the month with Let’s Talk about Boobies, followed by How to be a friend to someone who has cancer and then My Cancer Story: Things I wish people would have told me about sooner*. The impetus for sharing three years later was about how this “secret” was blocking my creativity. I wanted to share this part of my identity.
As far as how this is about you…Get your mammogram! Thankfully my cancer was caught while still in State 1, and thanks to the great care team at Northshore I am cancer free for three years and counting.
This final installment is about new insights gleaned from the experience of having cancer.
People who care will care; those who don’t won’t
Sometimes we (okay, I) think so much about what others will think. In the end, people who already care about you will care about what you share and how it impacted you. And people who don’t care, won’t. “Don’t care” is not actively negative. It’s in the sense of completely neutral.
Along the lines of “trust the universe,” or “what is yours will come to you,” don’t worry about what others will think. Those who matter to you or you to them will bring love.
You never know whom you will touch
Cristal at Aviation is one of the reasons why I always get my mammogram. I don’t know what her story was, but there was one October that every time you saw her she asked “Have you gotten your mammogram?” “Did you schedule your mammogram?” Every time I said “I know, I know, I’ll do it” she got even more insistent. Now whenever I’m overdue I can still hear Cristal’s voice. Why? Who knows? I actually had to ask a mutual colleague what her name was. It was over ten years ago that we worked together. But it stuck.
Sometimes something you say hits someone at the exact right moment that they need to hear it.
We’re all already on a bucket list
You don’t need to have cancer to have a bucket list. That was the original title for my final October entry…a video. I didn’t like the title, because I don’t want to minimize how cancer has so deeply affected others. I’m grateful to be healthy. But I’ve been thinking about it since I gave a talk via video conference for a “Pink Shabbat” my cousin was running for Hillel at the University of Rhode Island. “Did you do anything on your bucket list because of it?” asked one of the students. “I don’t actually have a bucket list,” I answered. At the same moment, however, it dawned on me. “But I am happier. Little things don’t bother me. And I’m braver to speak up and act and try new things, especially if they scare me. What scares you dares you. The moment I’m afraid is the moment to push harder.
Technically we’re all living a bucket list from the moment we are born. No one makes it out alive (although my mom still thinks she can figure out a way). As October ends and I go back to my “normal”
If it scares you, it dares you!
That’s my new motto. I’m not talking about going skydiving or that sort of thing. It’s the everyday things. Pushing through difficult discussions, sharing new ideas that might get shot down, being bold and taking a stance. Getting exposed! As soon as something scares me aka pushes me out of my comfort zone, I’m committed to doing it.
P.S. Speaking of that Jack-O-Lantern, If you like doing it, do it!
I finally hit the age limit of getting my son, now 17, to make Jack-O-Lanterns with me. I grateful it lasted this long. And I absolutely loved making that one, by myself, while watching This is Us. Why should kids have all the fun?