Sunday, July 24, 2011

Live life, every day, as best you can!

I'm sitting outside, looking at the lake and enjoying the evening breeze and listening to the folks next door having a good time enjoying each other's company.  It's been an almost quiet day here today, with the exception of a pleasant visit with my niece Lisa and her adorable daughter Isabelle and breakfast out this morning with hubby at Sammy J's, with a reputation as Salem's best breakfast.  Yes, it was really good.  The best in Salem?  Well, I have no basis for that statement just yet.  We haven't been here long enough to have sampled breakfast hot spots.  As a matter of fact, this was our first Salem breakfast since moving here.  We did, however, have the very best homefries we've ever had!  And they know how to poach an egg perfectly for eggs benedict.  So that says something about Sammy J's and you can be sure we'll be going back for a second try. 

We've had so much fun this past week.  Family and friends have blessed us with their presence repeatedly, taking advantage of our spectacular lake location to enjoy a cooling respite from the heatwave that brought record temperatures (103 on Friday).  We had 9 people here on Thursday, 3 on Friday including our darling little granddaughter who had her first solo sleepover at Grandma's, 17 on Saturday and then 2 today.  Tomorrow evening there will be a few more! 

I am incredibly grateful that after three chemo sessions, I am physically and mentally able to enjoy life.  And I do mean enjoy!  Granted, I have a couple days after each session where I'm not at the top of my game.  But I am lucky that I don't have to head to my bed and become a recluse while I recover from the chemical onslaught.  And I am lucky that my immune system has been sturdy enough that I don't feel the need to avoid crowds, fresh fruits and veggies, or take any abnormal precautions beyond the norm - don't eat something that has been licked by a sick kid!!!  And I am lucky to have an oncologist who listened to all my concerns and fears about chemo, rational or not, and took every precaution possible to balance the need for pre-meds with a concern for my glucose levels. 

Today I took the time to open a "coffee table" book that someone gave me a few years ago.  It's titled Off the Beaten Path - a travel guide to more than 1000 places here in the USA that are worth visiting.  There are probably 150 locations within a two hour drive of us right here in New England so we have some touring to do!  I've always had a love of visiting neat places in this country.  Even when we lived in the Kansas City area and it seemed that you couldn't really change your geography unless you drove for several hours, we would rent or borrow a motorhome and go off to see the majesty of the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Zion National Park and many other of Mother Nature's delights.  Or we boarded a plane to Hawaii or Florida, cruised to Alaska, took a road trip and golfed the Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama.  And we made trips back to visit our family, frequently by some standards.  Even though we both had demanding full time jobs, we made the time to live life, enjoy what we loved, and never passed up an opportunity to do something that sounded like fun, even if it was a last minute idea and we needed to be ready to go in 15 minutes. 

The good news is that neither diabetes with its dietary constraints or  cancer with its demanding schedule of doctors, treatments, physical therapy, more doctors, etc., has changed any of that.  If I get an opportunity to do something, I'm doing it!  If someone wants to go to dinner, or get a pedicure, or come for a visit, I'm in.   I'm never too tired, it's never too late (or too early these days) to be on the go, to do something interesting, to visit a beautiful location, or to learn something about this country. 

Some day it will happen.  I won't be able to go or do or whatever.  At some point in my life, through natural aging or some unfortunate turn of events, I will have to stay home, to say no, to say I'm too tired.   But not yet, not this gal.  So don't be surprised when you hear what I'm up to, because that's just me being me!

So, what about you?  What are you getting out of life these days?  I hope it's everything you really want and everything you really need.  Because you never know when something will happen and you can't.



  1. Michelle,

    I love what you wrote. It's so true. Whether you have cancer or not. Whether you have a home or not. Whether you have money or not, there is always something to enjoy about living.

    When I think about all I lost early in 2010, there were days I thought I would die from the grief. But I didn't and I persisted and I fought and I transcended. And if I had not been handed the challenges I've had in the past year and a half, I would not be as present to my life and to the joys that pop up every day ... sometimes in the least likely moments.

    I am fortunate and I know it. I still have a body that lets me swim ... so now I will remember to swim. I have a body that loves to dance and I dance every chance I get. I still have a mind that is quick and curious and always at the ready for a challenge or a fill. I have people who have shown me love and friendship I never knew was possible. I have been kissed. I have made love and been made love to. I have cooked some marvelous meals and shared them with others. I have laughed so hard (with my mouth full of coffee) that I've sprayed my keyboard and monitor. I have met people I never thought I'd meet ... including you ... who have reminded me that this is the only life I have and wasting even a moment of it is folly.

    I get more out of life now at a time when I have the least materially I have ever had. And though I still have challenges, I am a happy person. I am a joyful person.

    Your positive approach to living is one I admire. I feel a real connection with you and your philosophy of life.

    Thanks for asking and thanks for your example.



  2. Michelle, thanks for reminding me to live each day to the fullest and to appreciate where I am in life.

    I'll add to your comments: every day, say "I love you" to the people in your life whom you love. Even when you are annoyed with that person, don't let a day pass without letting him/her know how you feel.

    Michelle, you continue to amaze me with your strength and positive attitude.

  3. Kathleen - I know how emotionally difficult your journey has been over the past year and a half. If I have helped one little bit, then I am grateful for the opportunity. I wish you all the hope and strength you need to sustain your spirit. The seeds you have sown will blossom.


  4. Sandi - thanks for reminding us to speak those important words. It was always an unspoken assumption, but now we end every conversation with our kids now with "Love you".

    I don't know why Google won't let me log in to post a comment on my own blog, I have to use the anonymous I really should use Firefox to do blog comments! I guess it's an IE problem.


  5. What a perfect way to start off a beautiful new day. Your courage and wisdom have always been front and center, guiding me in this crazy life. I am so profoundly grateful to have you as my mother, and can't tell you enough how happy I am to have you here and more present in my life and the life of my children. Especially after years and years of hearing "I will never move back to New England. I hate snow!" :)

  6. Michelle - You continue to inspire those around you to live their lives to the fullest. You indeed have a very, special gift which you willingly share with all of us. Thank you.


  7. Beautifully written, Michelle!

    Appreciating every minute and really living life, rather than just going through the motions is something we all need to remember!

    I tend to forget sometimes! Thanks for the reminder.....

    Jennifer (Seaside)

  8. Michelle,
    I'm so glad you're doing so well. I can only think back to my time in treatment and how it hit me ... I kept a positive attitude along the way, but I was WAY more tired than you seem to be. Guess it's how we all react to/and how intense treatment is.

    This IS a time of discovery, isn't it? I never knew how many friends I had until I was seriously ill. My life will never be the same, and I am grateful for that. Seems you've learned that lesson too.

    As Melissa Ethridge says, cancer can be a gift. I know it was for me.

    Continue to fight the fight. I'm there with you in spirit. I read your blog often.

    Ellen Wall

  9. Michelle, I'm so glad you are doing well. I do think that having help of family helps us all get through things. Your family has certainly stepped up to the plate.


  10. Michelle- Such a beautiful blog, You are an inspiration to me and to others, and you are as beautiful inside as you are on the outside- I feel very privledged and fortunate to have met you along this journey- Hope we stay in touch forever!
    Much love.
    Debbie (debbie6122)