Life passes us by in the blink of an eye. They say the older you get, the quicker the time goes. Turns out…”they” were right. Where does the time go? It doesn’t discriminate either. Whether you’re happy, miserable, sick, sad, etc… In the moment, it may feel like eternity. But eventually you’re looking back and thinking, “what the hell? When did I get here?”
Breathe. Just breathe. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in life that we forget to enjoy living. Especially how fast paced everything is now. I feel like we are walking zombies with our smart phones. We just haven’t started eating brains yet.
The Little Things
I wish I could say that these last few years have taught me how to not sweat the small stuff. This is something that I still have to work at every day. I’m better than I was but I still have a long way to go. Every now and then I get a natural rush of complete gratitude for being alive. Whether it’s being outside on a beautiful day riding my bike and feeling the wind on my face, looking up and seeing a beautiful sky, or finally riding a kayak for the first time since my cancer diagnosis and taking in all the beauty around me. I’m a Pisces which is a water sign. I feel at my most peaceful when at water. I had the most amazing girl date with my friend, Jessie, floating down Rainbow Springs on a spontaneous whim after my terrible navigating skills. My rowing skills were much to be desired since it had been so long but all you need is a willing partner. It’s the little things in life that make life so wonderful.
Something I always try to stress is that we’re not promised tomorrow. We’ll never know when we’re going to run out of time. This will be my first Thanksgiving in three years that I haven’t been incredibly ill. Last year, in addition to my sickness, my mother was going through chemo. “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”
I’ve always been an artistic person. Growing up and in college, it was dance. After that, I started my makeup artistry career. Once cancer struck and I wasn’t able to do anything, writing was represented to me. I’ve always had to have a creative outlet. As I was going through some old documents in my computer, I found this little gem. Something that past Pre-Leukemia Michele wrote titled “Michele’s Life Lessons 2013.” It was a letter to myself with 10 lessons I had learned up to that point.
“As this year comes to a close, I would like to take a moment to reflect on 2013. I feel that life has so many lessons that it is constantly teaching us. We have no choice in the matter. But perhaps we should be thanking it, for we would never grow and become better than what we are…
…I would like to share a brief list of some of Michele’s Life Lessons. This is for future Michele to look back on and to realize, “Yep, we’ve already learned this one.” And for her to add on more that she continues to learn. One thing in life that’s a sure thing is realizing you will never have all the answers.”
- Expect the worst but hope for the best.
- Go out of your comfort zone and do things that scare you.
- People will disappoint you. 9 out of 10 times it will be the people you least expect it from. The solution? Get over it.
- Don’t make excuses. Period.
- Smile as much as you can. It makes you happier and more attractive.
- Don’t hold onto anger. It will be to your detriment.
- Don’t forget about the power that music holds. It can brighten any mood and make things seem not so bad.
- Be active on a regular basis! This will add so much quality to your life. There is someone out there way busier than you that works out regularly. You have to make it become a part of your life.
- Drinking will never fix anything. The problem will still be there afterwards.
- Giving increases your quality of life.
This was written on 12/29/13. Just three weeks before going into the ER. I still agree with these. Some are a bit harsh, some laughable, and some even ironic. I can’t say that music made cancer seem not as bad but I certainly still believe in the power of music. As such, I leave you with this song that is so emotional and can be interpreted in many different ways. I like to think it’s an ode to life and love.
I will live up to my past wishes and add on to this list. My first addition being to ‘Stop and Smell the Roses.’ I wish that for all of us this week as we go into the Holiday of being Thankful.
Remember to smile often, love more, pray harder, and laugh as much as you possibly can.
I’m so happy that I stumbled upon your blog. My husband and I are both under 40 and have cancer. I certainly can relate to many things you have posted. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It inspires me to want to do the same.
Michele Mann says
I’m glad you found my blog. I have found it to be very therapeutic throughout my journey to share and be completely honest. During that time, it just so happened that it started to inspire people which was just an added bonus and gave me purpose during a very dark time. So if I’m understanding correctly, you both have cancer right now? I am so very sorry. I can certainly relate since I was still recovering and my mother/caregiver was diagnosed with breast cancer. What kind of cancer?
Hi! Yes, my husband has multiple myeloma and had his bone marrow transplant in May 2016. He’s in remission. I was diagnosed with Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma over 10 years ago and just now started to take systemic treatment (just a pill) instead of skin-directed. So we have been through the mess of doctor visits, waiting for results and praying for more time. I’m 38 he’s 39 and we have 2 boys (9yrs and 5yrs).
I absolutely love your recent pictures-the cocoon pics are so beautiful!!
I’m also thankful you introduced me to Be the Match. David was his own donor so we didn’t have to face that problem but going through the transplant process was such an eye-opener. The people and technology needed was astonishing. I’ve been wanting to raise awareness and funds for orgs just like that!
Still reading through some of your posts *tear* it’s like you’re writing my every emotion during those times! It really is so well done-thank you again for this and congratulations! Happy New Year!! Hey-2017! You better be good to us!!
Michele Mann says
Oh my goodness, you both have your hands full. It’s always crazy when hearing of others stories of fighting, survival and endless dr’s. I do hope your husband has been taken as well as possible to the transplant. All of that and with your boys, I’m so sorry it’s been like that for you and for so long. Thank you for the compliments on the pictures…that was a wonderful day. I’m glad you now know about Be The Match and can spread the word about it. It also brings me happiness that you can relate to the blogs. That is most certainly one of the reasons why I write them! You’re so very welcome. I hope 2017 brings you and your family some good news and less and less dr’s!