I think as long as it’s January, we can still say Happy New Year so Happy New Year!
I don’t know about you, but for me, the holidays can be difficult in so many ways. You see people you haven’t seen in a while, which leads to a lot of cancer talk. The food is tempting, but you shouldn’t have it, don’t want it, can’t eat it, or regret it later. And it’s busy, which just serves as a reminder of how real the fatigue can be. So I face the new year with something of a sigh of relief.
It’s also a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And that can be tricky. When I reflect back on the year, it’s hard not to focus on the cancer theme. Because while I’ve always said cancer won’t run my life, it’s clearly a continuing theme. The drugs, the scans, the numbers, the side effects, the progression or regression of the disease that is part of my life – that’s all part of the reflection. But you know what? I lived this past year too. I laughed. A LOT. I spent time with people I love. I worked hard. I watched my son start his last year of high school. I went on college visits. I enjoyed some vacation time. I read a lot of books and drank a lot of wine. I shared ups and downs with cancer friends. I shared ups and downs with other friends. I had a wonderful time with my family. I saw sunsets and a few sunrises. I heard amazing music. I sang some amazing music too. I still love my life. It’s important to remember that on the days when I feel especially sorry for myself, I’m mourning for the life I once had. But it’s still a pretty awesome life and I’m grateful for all the good.
So my challenge to you is to spend some time reflecting on the good instead of being so laser-focused on the fact that it was another year with cancer. It’s hard and I’m not so great at it some days, but when I am, I feel a lot better, physically and mentally.
And then there’s the hopeful part. I look forward to this year. Attitude is important and I am trying to start this year with the right attitude – focus on this being a great year, and not letting cancer take away my joy and hope. I plan on having more laughs, more love, and maybe even more wine this year. I will spend more time with people I love. I will sing and dance and celebrate life. And I am excited about the advances in cancer research – it just feels like it’s moving faster – every week a new article or story is released about a ground-breaking drug or discovery that will change the way we look at and treat cancer. I am honored to be working with a group that is funding some of that critical research for ovarian cancer. I care a lot more about cancer research than I used to. And now it’s up to those of us touched by cancer, directly or indirectly, to spread the word and gather the troops. We are battling a mighty force and it will take all of us to win. But we can win. I believe that. So kick this year off feeling that sense of hope. Get involved. Help us win.