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 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 spent 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 where I feel especially sorry for myself when 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, 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.