Archive for September, 2011

Filling up on happy


I have always had a healthy carpe diem streak in me. I like to let loose and have fun.

Less than two months before my diagnosis, I had a conference in Amsterdam. In addition to attending scholarly talks and meeting with colleagues, I enjoyed the city with friends.

The boat ride pictured below was particularly memorable. Cruising through the canals with a bottle of wine is so lovely.


I had cancer in this picture. I had no idea.






I am gearing up for surgery on Thursday. I am, in the words of my middle child, getting ready to be pulled under by the cancer sea once again.

Only this time, I have had some warning. I have some of my health and fitness back again. Instead of the shock of diagnosis with the uncertainty of the treatment, I know I’m going in for some pain, but I will get something on the other end.

I’ve managed the prospect of more suffering by trying to use a principle of opposites:
I’m filling up on Happy.

In fact, I’ve been on a bit of a carpe diem bender.

My family & I took off for a long weekend at the beach.

After we went away this summer, the kids told us how much they love the sea,

so we found away to go back.


A week later, I had a work trip to Rome. Once again, in between official duties, I found opportunities to have some fun.

Can you see the Coliseum in the background?

I ate yummy food and saw beautiful art.

That granita was amazing.

Then, as if that weren’t enough, I went back to Holland to give a talk at a university.

Of course, I managed to fit in some fun.

Look! I’m back in the same boat!


As a final hurrah this past weekend, the girls and I went to a Taylor Swift concert. She is their musical idol.

Watching my daughters grinning from ear to ear, singing every word as they watched her show, filled my mother’s heart with loving joy.

Could it get any better?

Actually, yes.

Two seats away from my eldest sat Martina McBride. She is a hero for many of us cancer survivors.
She wrote an amazing song called “I’m gonna love you through it” that seriously could be written for me.

I went up to her and let her know how much her song meant to me. She was incredibly gracious.

Meeting Martina reminded me that I can get loved through this part, too.
When my body is hurting in the coming weeks, I will be able to close my eyes and bring up lots of great moments.

Trust me. I’m having fun, but I will never, ever say that cancer is a gift.

Life, on the other hand, with all it has to offer, most certainly is.


If you haven’t seen Martina McBride’s video, get out your hanky and watch it now:


“♪ Cancer don’t discriminate or care that you’re just 38 with three kids who need you in their lives.. ♪.”


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