Monday, June 22, 2015

Keep Calm and Fight On

Sometimes in life you find yourself not knowing what exactly to say... for me, it happens almost on a daily basis. I mean what exactly am I supposed to say when everyone and their dog (seriously a dog asked me this the other day) asks "How are you doing??". Haha oh boy, talk about a loaded question. I always take a minute to step back and evaluate where this person is coming from. Do they really want to know? Or are they just trying to be nice? For the most part I just mutter out a simple "I am hanging in there!", because that is the easiest way to answer the question. Occasionally I will actually tell people how things are going, but that usually freaks them out and then THEY are the ones who don't know what to say. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate people caring enough to ask how I am doing... But I care enough about them to not go into details about how things are really going.

Having cancer has yielded a number of awkward experiences for me. Most of the time I don't mind it, and find it entertaining, but recently even I felt a little uncomfortable. Someone I hadn't seen in a while came up to me at an event I was at, and they started rubbing my head. Which by the way, really doesn't bother me. I think most people look at my head thinking to themselves "I really want to put my hands all over that". Not saying I totally understand WHY, just saying it seems to happen a lot. Anyway. This person starts to rub my head and asks me, "Why did you do this?!" and, "It is a good look for you". Uhhh talk about awkward. I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend and we both just looked at each other. I responded with, "I dunno.. it kind of just happened". Hahaha! Whew good times. 

I don't understand a lot of things, and let me tell you one of the many things that falls into that category. Since I have been diagnosed with cancer I have had a lot of people tell me things like "If anyone can beat this, you can" and "Keep fighting!". Those things sound nice in theory, but what the heck do they actually mean? I thought to myself.. How do I "fight" this? I was clueless. It's not like I could put on boxing gloves and get in the ring with my tumor (although I am sure that would be a sight to see). No, it must mean something else. Then I got to thinking, what about those that have died from cancer? Did they "lose" their fight? Absolutely not. If this thing kills me, I will not be a known as a loser. SO that being said... what does it mean?! You beat cancer by the way you live your life. You have to refuse to let it define you. I may be down and out for a while, but I still live life to the fullest. In between treatments I have found myself wake boarding, tubing, flying to California, driving to Arizona, paddle boarding, working out, swimming, kayaking, running a mile (well close to a mile.. I almost made it without throwing up everywhere), etc. I may be exhausted, and miserable at times, but I won't let this stupid cancer win.

The hard times in our life do not define us. Just remember to take them head on. Continue to live your life the best you can. Fight through those times, even if it requires blood sweat and tears. Trust me, I know how hard it can be.. but those painful experiences have been some of the most fulfilling times of my whole life. You can take comfort in looking at the people around you, because we are all FIGHTING our own battles. 

We all have trials but it is my belief that we "can-cer vive" anything that life tries to throw at us. Just remember that life is whatever we make it. I choose to make it good, cancer and all. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happiness is like a Butterfly...

Well I just had the most incredible week of my life! It all started with a trip to California. The Young family is like a second family to me, and I owe them a huge thank you for helping me have such a good vacation. I stayed with one of my best friends Austin while I was out there. It was Spencer, Austin, and I living the dream! Every day we would hit the beach, the pool, and pedro's tacos (or so it felt like). 

Then another mini-vacation happened. This was pretty spontaneous. My plane landed on Thursday at 9:30 pm, I was picked up and went home for a few minutes. I grabbed a few things that I needed (luckily I was already packed) and jumped in the car with Chris to drive through the night down to Arizona. Yup. 10 hours later, at 7:00am, we were in AZ! Can I just say that some of the nicest people live down there? I don't know WHY they live there, it would get too hot for my taste, but they do. The Davis', Baker's, Mitchell's, etc. Not to mention the unbelievable AZ girl squad. Meeting all of these incredible people really taught me a great lesson.. but I will get to that later. Anyway. AZ was a party! We stayed with the one and only Rachel Davis. She took great care of us. We went to the lake (not boating), ate tons of great food, played nertz, went swimming, etc. Couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Here is a picture of Rachel and I, and then one of the crew:

Believe it or not I did learn a few things amidst all of the fun and partying. I have been thinking a lot about happiness lately. What is it exactly? How do you get it? I came across a great quote, it is almost as great as it is cheesy:

"Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder" 

I know, I know... its cheesy. But think about it. How true is that? So I started thinking about how to turn my attention away from happiness... and it hit me. Focus on the people around you in your life. This past week I was incredibly happy!! For instance, there were some things that happened in Arizona that could have made me unhappy.. but I just wasn't. I was happy because I was living in the moment with the people around me. I totally believe that if you want to be happier, you need to take some time to enjoy the people in your life. Kick back and enjoy the scenery. Whatever that means for you!

It doesn't have to be a huge trip though! For example... I spent two hours watching youtube videos with my dad last night. That is all it takes! Anyway. People are awesome, and I am grateful to have spent the week learning more about what it takes to be truly happy.

OH! One last thing. I received a book as a gift called "Every Day I Fight" - Stuart Scott. So far this is one of my favorite quotes from the book: "The contradiction is as top of mind as the cancer itself" Cancer can kill you, but it can also make you the man you always wanted to be". 

We all have trials but it is my belief that we "can-cer vive" anything that life tries to throw at us. Just remember that life is whatever we make it. I choose to make it good, cancer and all.