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This is Our Time

Last updated: December 2022

As the fall of leaves stirs the air and winter settles in, so many of us look forward to this magical time of year. It is a time of new birth and beginnings as well as endings. It holds memories of the joy of celebrations with family and friends. It means planning great meals and wrapping gifts and people to invite.

A time to relive traditions

It is a time of reliving traditions from long ago. In our family, we do so through the many foods we create year after year. They bring warmth and fond memories of carefree times or sometimes difficult times. Yet, while those same memories can bring joy, they can promote sadness as we account for those who are no longer here to take a place at our table. Then comes the reality of life: There is a beginning and an end for everything. But, most importantly, in the middle is how we choose to live each moment of our life.

Like many of you reading this article, cancer came into my life four years ago. While trying to figure out how to live on a daily basis with surgeries and infusions of chemotherapy, it remains clear to me that I have much to live for. I know I can opt-out of treatment at any time. Just one month ago, I requested an early end to the last 6-month chemotherapy plan and resumed what is considered maintenance with Avastin. Every three weeks, I dutifully return to the cancer center for an infusion of a chemo agent. The hope is that the medication will block blood flow to the affected areas and diminish tumors attempting to take over.

We hope to choose wisely

Like the powerful words found in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we have many choices. We can weigh our options and choose wisely, making informed decisions. I must listen to my mind, body, and those I trust around me. My choices are often based on a philosophy that considers the greater good.

There are no guarantees that Avastin will stall the effects of cancer. Yet, with much determination, it is possible to approach life with the same spirit as those before me and how I have always proceeded. Or I can choose to become angry, depressed, and withdrawn. You see, not all accept the reality that this beautiful life does, in fact, end someday. Many are frivolous in their planning and their approach. Some even believe they will live forever.

Truthfully, forever isn't always a great option. As a result, I seek a life where I can continue to watch the sun pass over the mountains from the east and arrive at my window, filling the room with its glorious rays. Yes, life can be what we choose to make it. My goal is always to limit the negative impact of this disease on others. Trying to numb all my senses would diminish my ability to think and feel and experience life, albeit there may be times of pain and sorrow.

Make the most of your time

Most of us respond best when we are in the driver's seat. But unfortunately, the notorious backseat drivers of the world tend to be viewed as a bother to others even though the intention is merely hoping for better control. So be it. This is a choice worthy of every ounce of who we have become. Therefore, when you bring forth concerns to a treatment team, it is not to create controversy but to quiet any fears and live another day in peace.

Be your own best friend while respecting the needs of others. Include those you love openly and honestly. Create an image of how you would like to live the rest of your life. Then, engage family and friends in accomplishing whatever you need to make it happen.

As I leave you today, I wish you courage, strength, and love.

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