Friday, February 19, 2010

Eat Up Life with a Big Spoon

Someone said something to me today that made me stop. I mean, I was so dumbfounded by their words, I secretly wondered if I was on the same planet. I've decided since then that I *do* mentally live on a different one.

An individual told me that perhaps I kept getting cancer because I wasn't "getting the hint." (For the record, I'm cancer-free.) Wow. I mean, I admit, I do think there are some lessons to be learned and that although cancer itself isn't a "gift," the experience has taught me so much I am grateful to Eternity every day. This person proceeded to explain to me that perhaps I was meant to die, but just wasn't "getting the hint." Looking back on that conversation, I have to laugh. I mean - sheesh - if that's the case, between all the near-misses on the freeway commute, times I've dodged cars on my long marathon training runs and moments my klutzy nature has landed me in precarious situations -- I guess I'm wayyyy behind getting the hint.

Interestingly enough, I think I *have* gotten the "hint." Hearing that I had cancer the first time shocked me into a parallel universe. I can't explain how, but I know that in that instant, I knew I would die -- someday. (I mean, there is, after all, a 100% chance that living will kill a person.) The difference is that at the age of 31, I understood that every minute...every second...of every day mattered. It didn't matter if I spent it at work, having a glass of wine with a close friend or traveling the world --- it just mattered that in every waking second, I did my best to be happier and brighter in every moment and tried to give back.

Today, I'd like to pass on some comments from a TeamLIVESTRONG teammate that shared her experience, and they sum up how I feel, too:

"Cancer knows no age limit. It crosses all barriers and leaves devastation in its wake. However, I am not a victim. I am not a statistic. Today, I stand strong…against all odds. While cancer has spread and I am now medically described as "terminal," I feel more alive than ever. Oddly, cancer offers many "silver linings" if you are willing to search for them. Live and love every minute gifted. Live in the moment for today. I refuse to waste my cancer. I work hard to eat life with a big spoon and have so many goals for 2010. ...There is nothing like feeling alive and being a part of something bigger than you. - Michelle"

I love that. I love the comment about eating life with a big spoon, and we should all consider ourselves lucky to know cancer warriors like Michelle. I am grateful she shared her story on a day when, for a moment, I wondered what universe I lived in. In truth, it's clear that Michelle and I actually *do* live in a different world -- it's one many of you also live in (or you probably wouldn't be reading this blog) -- a world where possibilities are endless, and being grateful & living in the present is not only possible, but required. :)

Thanks, LAF, Team LIVESTRONG & Michelle! CURES ROCK! Let's all eat life with a big ol' spoon this weekend!


  1. I love this post Julie! And I love Michelle's insightful words. Cancer can ruin our body, but it cannot take from us our courage, our spirit, our will to live and taste life, and so many other things. Use both hands to handle that big spoon. As far as that curious comment your friend made, I guess we are all destined to say dumb things now and then. I know I do. That is part of being human, and especially of being a guy. ;o) Enjoy your day! Art

  2. Thanks for the comment, Art! It's true...we all do and say silly things. I didn't take offense at all (heck, I think most cancer patients hear worse), and I'm always interested in someone trying to talk about my (or their) cancer experience....even if it does make me stop for a minute in surprise. lol. I will use both hands and maybe a Red Flyer Wagon to carry my big ol' spoon and plan on scooping up doses of light, love and happiness as I can!! Have a great weekend, happy running...and I look forward to seeing you at the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon this June!!

  3. Always insightful and inspiring words Julie. I have my big ol' spoon in hand ready to dive in this weekend. I also know firsthand how cancer changed my life and desire to live each day to its fullest. Something I wanted to do before cancer but never really came through with the action. Crazy how cancer (even through chemo brain)(: can make you think clearer than you ever have. So glad we are cancer free now but I am taking all the life lessons learned and actually incorporating them in my life.
    Love, Lyndsay Nishioka

  4. Wonderful post, Julie.
    And in Michelle's words"There is nothing like feeling alive!


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