Today was another new experience for me. I went to speak to a grade 10 class about the realities of having cancer. The class was learning about cancer, and their teacher wanted them to hear about my experience to "give cancer a face". When I start telling my story, I can get pretty passionate and lose track of time. I talked a really long time....almost 75 minutes. I mostly focussed on the facts of my journey: how I was diagnosed, what treatments were really like, what my diet and natural medication plan looks like now and most importantly we talked about HPV and the urgency of having our girls vaccinated. We are 90% sure my cancer was caused by HPV that was not diagnosed until it became cancer. Having the vaccination could have saved me from all of this. (If you know someone who has a daughter in grade 6, urge them to learn all they can about the vaccination and the truth about HPV...Cancer Care Manitoba has lots of good information about it.) Anyway back to today.....I talked a long time, and it was hard to tell if the students were intrigued or bored. The teacher reassured me after that they were interested in what I had to say, so hopefully she is right. The class sent me a list of questions that they had before my visit today. I was impressed with their insight. A lot of them had questions about how my perspective on life has changed. I was fascinated that these young kids, in the prime of their lives thought about such things. I really tried to impress upon them the importance of living for the present and making each day count. I focused on my physical wellbeing and my mental health. It wasn't the time or place to get deep into my belief system or the spiritual journey that I've been on, but it was interesting to me how my mind kept going there. As I drove home, I reflected on how intertwined my physical health, my mental health, and my spiritual health are. They can't really be shared apart from each other for someone to really understand the whole truth about me. When I was asked what my coping strategies are today, I said, "my faith, prayer, meditation, relying on friends/family, physio, exercising, keeping stress levels low, keeping life normal etc." Inside I wanted to scream: "And I have a miraculous peace inside of me that no one can fathom. It comes from understanding that God is in control of my life, and He loves me more then I can understand. So everyday I wake up and thank God for my health and that I'm alive today. I thank Him that I get to be with my kids and husband today. I thank Him for all of my friends and family members that are blessing my life. Many days, I tell Him I'm scared and need Him to carry me through my scary thoughts. Then I relax, knowing He will carry me through everything I experience, and He is bigger than anything I will ever face. And finally I ask Him to show me ways I can give back to this wonderful world He's placed me in, and then I wait for opportunities that He presents before me." This is how I cope. This is how I manage to live this life. I knew the grade 10's probably weren't ready to hear all of that and would think I was a crazy lady. Maybe some of you aren't ready to hear it either and think I'm crazy, but that's okay. This is my blog filled with me and my thoughts and I've been real with all of you through this entire journey, so why not today as well? This is honestly how I start each day now and probably will for the rest of my life. It's a gift to start each day like this. It's a blessing in so many ways.
Speaking of blessings, I can't end without sharing how excited I am for this coming Saturday. Our fundraiser social is coming up! So many people have put so many endless hours of work into making it happen. I can't wait to see it all come together. I can't wait to see so many people from so many different parts of our lives all at the same place having fun together. I can't wait to hear the bands and watch the dancers perform. I know it will be surreal. Saying thank you for everyone's hard work seems too small, so I'll save that for Saturday night. Can't wait! Hope all of you who are coming are also looking forward to it.