How to be happy when you have cancer

I’ll admit that as a new mother, when people would tell me that “every moment is precious” or something like that, I’d wipe my son’s projectile sneeze snot off my arm and try not to roll my eyes too hard. Some moments are just not so awesome– and when I was tired or frustrated I wished to fast forward through those hard times because it was sometimes nearly impossible for me to find the joy. Sleep training, for example was necessary but terrible, and for 2 weeks none of us got any sleep. There’s a period during toddler-hood when kids turn into complete A-holes. They’re pushing boundaries and discovering independence and basically every moment as a parent you are just keeping them from getting hurt. It’s hard work!

My oldest as a squishy faced newborn

I’ll also admit that I’m usually not patient, I don’t usually stop to smell the flowers. Often I’ve felt like I’m pulling my children behind me, holding each by one hand as they lag behind- my arms anchored by their slower pace and small feet. I’d say “Let’s go!” or “hurry!” as I looked down at my watch. I’d be thinking and planning an hour or two ahead. I would leave yoga classes before finishing the Savasana, and I would always get to work early and I would try to pre-order my groceries and… you get the picture. I felt short on time and it felt like I had a lot to do.

I’ve written a bit about how time itself seemed to change after my diagnosis. you can read about it here. Now that I’ve made my way through some of the shock, the hard and scary surgery, I’ve finally had time to sit and muse about— everything. Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in thinking about all the things I may miss out on when I die— in these past few months the promise of death has become all so much more real, even though it hopefully and likely remains far away— even though I have known the fact that death comes for everyone in theory— now I know what actually may kill me and it is possible that despite all the most aggressive treatments, I’ll just have to see that happen. I know that is a dramatic thing to say— but the point I am trying to make is that when I think about the bad things that are going on— there are really bad things to think about.

The other night we were out to dinner— my husband, 2 sons, and my dad. I was watching my oldest son thumb wrestle my dad and I got teary, sad— thinking about how a seemingly silly moment was just so special. I excused myself and had a pep talk in the mirror of the bathroom— This was not the time for me to feel sad, and grieve— this was the time I have to LIVE. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this by any means, but I definitely don’t want to waste another minute feeling sad to myself. That certainly won’t make me happy. Of course, I’m not saying this isn’t sad— it is— but whatever! I’m over it! My goal these past few weeks is to BE HAPPY. This is what I’ve done so far:

-Cooking and trying new recipes. They all aren’t pretty.. but no one has complained about the taste 😉

Cookies in the shapes of Oregon and Florida, to celebrate friends visiting from across the country

-Spending time with the people I love. My kids, husband, family and friends.

-Learning new things— For example, I’m trying to teach myself to play the keyboard, but I think pretty soon I will need real lessons!

-Trying to craft a standup routine… I’ll admit I’m not too far along on this one yet, but I’ve always thought doing stand up comedy would be fun! Now… to figure out how to make funny brain tumor jokes… that is a challenge hahahaaa

-reading and writing. Library card is a must— I download e-books which are very convienent

-Enjoying the summer weather and being outside

-Planning fun things for the future—having things on the calendar to look forward to

-Ooh.. and planning my new hairdo… i recently got an “undercut,” where the sides of my head are shaved but the top is still long— this helped get rid of some of the shaved patches I had after surgery. I’m thinking of having a barber put some “hair tattoos” or shaved designs in it…

What do you think?!

Well.. thats a good list for now! One other thing that makes me happy is doing things for others— so I’m about to go work on that 🙂

What do you do to stay happy?

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