Monday, July 10, 2017

12 Things I STOPPED Doing Thanks to Breast Cancer

Image Credit: HB Photography
After a year and a half hiatus from blogging, I'm committing myself to my "wonderings." Following a Stage IIIa breast cancer diagnosis in December of 2016, I have spent a great deal of time pondering and wondering about, well, pretty much everything. So, here you will find my "wonderings" about health, education, mortality, musings, wellness, and just life in general.
DISCLAIMER: Topics may be all over the map...as my "wonderings" are. Thanks for having me back.



  1. I stopped looking back. 
There's nothing I can to change what's happened in the past - good, bad, or indifferent. I stopped the vicious cycle of "what if." I've taken what I learn, and continue to learn, and apply it toward what I dream and aspire and be and do moving forward. Let it mold me; don't let it defined me or burden me. It's done. It's over. There's no benefit in regret or wishful thinking. Figure out what needs to be done and do it. I figure I have 50 years left to antagonize the heck out of friends, family, and colleagues. Let's do this!
2. I stopped listening to and believing everything I was told or read.
I understand well-meaning advice. I understand the feeling of extreme discombobulation around learning of a potential deadly diagnosis. It plays with your mind. So, I became a voracious, informed decision maker. I looked to reputable resources and gleaned knowledge from research, case studies, factual data on my own. Just because it shows up in a news feed does not always make it so. Consider the fine print. And the source.
3. I stopped beating myself up.
We’re all human. We all have moments of pain, doubt, fear, and uncertainty. Getting worked up about work or relationships or body image or the weather, for that matter, doesn’t do anything to solve any the aforementioned maladies. I’ve learned to find peace in who I am, in my capabilities, and in my future. Sometimes it takes a magnifying glass, and a sledge hammer, to find miracles and mercy in ourselves, but they definitely exist.
4. I stopped closing doors.
I’m not a hugger. It’s tough for me to accept praise, and in the case of this stupid diagnosis, support. I’m not used to being doted upon. Opening the door and allowing people in has helped me “un-Grinch” myself. I feel my heart growing each time someone reaches out with a kind word or gift of support, and you know what happens? Turns out that sentiment surges me toward paying it forward and seeking out those in need. Doors are now opening all around me, it seems.  It’s turning out to be quite the win-win. And...it’s A-OK to hug now.
5. I stopped taking myself so seriously.
I used to think I was defined by what I looked like physically or by what I said. I used to think I was defined by my career choice. For a big chunk of my life I wasted moments in scathing rebuke over my appetite, my temperament, my knowledge base, and/or my skill set - or lack thereof. Not anymore. What you see is what you get. I know exactly what I want. I find ways to get it. If I don't know something, I'll discover and pass along the wealth of knowledge. And, I’m willing to make sacrifices for those aspirations. If that offends anyone, well, that’s on them.
6. I stopped being a “fan girl.”
Not exclusive to my field of work by any means, I see it occurring everywhere, especially in the network marketing arena-buy this latest and greatest item (most times lacking any substantial evidence or data to back them up, mind you). I’ve noticed quite the uptick of self-aggrandization taking place in the land of social media. Follows, proselytizing, and likes really never appealed much to me. Just do the work. Get your hands dirty; get results. I don’t need someone telling me they’re “networking” or “connecting” when the only connection is to boost their own bottom line. Give me meaningful, authentic conversations around a local, rich micro-brew or chai latte (vanilla, please) that cultivates into deeper, much more rewarding, relationships any day.
7. I stopped giving a crap about animal hair.
We have three dogs and a cat. Two of the critters live predominantly inside (mostly because they run the place). I used to spend hours on end chasing them around with my Swiffer® duster and/or vacuum, trying to keep up with their “golden flecks of love” deposits all over the place. Not anymore. Once a week, maybe, and if our guests struggle with being “loved,” I’ll happily meet them at a golden-flecks-of-love free locale. That goes for dust bunnies and kid-smudgy windows, too.
8. I stopped “going there.”
Image Credit: @KayeHenrickson

Cancer makes you think the worst at times - especially during the dark days. What if it comes back? What if it spreads elsewhere? What did I do to “cause” this? What didn’t I do right? What should I do to ensure it doesn’t come back? Who’s going to care for my loved ones? How many years do I have? What if I don’t accomplish what I want to accomplish? It’s okay and quite human to tiptoe around the abyss; just don’t jump in. It can be a long, and detrimental, climb out.
9. I stopped allowing space for hatred or irrelevance.
Vengeance is a bitch. Let’s face it. There is no sense in letting miniscule-minded, narcissistic individuals have any leverage in your life. They mean nothing. They have no significance. They have no place but in a toxic dumpster of letting go. Let the universe take care of them. Focus on the happy, intelligent, uplifting peeps instead. They make us better.
10. I stopped the “yeah but…” circus.
Most times, our biggest enemies are ourselves. We need to stop it. Putting up barriers (most of them dandy fairy tales, by the way) doesn’t help. The “yeah buts” close doors (see #4). Not anymore. Instead of thinking “yeah, but I’m too…” or “I’m not...,” I’ve decided to take the advice I learned at one of my absolute favorite leading and learning events - Edcamp Summits. “Yeah but” is taking on a new persona - “YES, AND...” from here on out, baby!
11. I stopped saving sailor talk for campfires.
I don’t normally swear - unless I’m struggling up that last bit of 7% grade hillside on my walks, around others who regularly exercise sailor mouth, or cannot think of a better way to phrase things. I cannot even count the number of times the “F-bomb” has flown out of my face since my diagnosis. I’ve realized that being dumbfounded and at a loss for all explanation frequently finds itself flanked in F-bombs. I try not to swear around my mother, who would disapprove, but for precision and posterity, I let it fly. Sometimes.
12. I stopped being trivial.
Little blips in life are no match for battling a life-altering diagnosis. So there may be nights when I feel lonely, unloved, or disconnected. There may be days when my favorite pants don’t fit. There may be moments when someone, well-meaning AND just plain mean-spirited alike, says something that sticks in my craw for days. It’s all trivial. Nothing compared to being sliced into, poisoned, and burned - all to kill a devil. Note to self: Get over yourself, self. Be Elsa - let it go.

11 comments:

  1. #5 and #11 are gold. Great things to live by!

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  2. I love this Kaye and I'm with YOU- except #7. One of my FAVORITE forms of exercise is vacuuming! With four cats and now a large adolescent German Shepherd in the house - I am in heaven with vacuuming. Nothing as good as having that time with my big sound muffling headphones on, sucking up a satisfying amount of fur - EVERY DAY - to contemplate life - and all of the other numbers (1-12). Thanks for sharing and keep on keeping on!

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  3. You are a beautiful, amazing, inspirational lady! This makes me smile for you. I think about you a lot.

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  4. Kaye - I like it. All of it. Life is too short, by all accounts, to let things that happen, or people that happen- to say, or do - get in the way of living it.

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  5. You are beautiful and mighty. I love your spirit and light. Please continue sharing your wisdom.

    Laura Sowinski

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  6. Love this, and the way you just put it out there Kay! You are an inspiration, and I am honored to call you my friend!

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  7. Thank you, Kay, for your honesty and visible courage. Best of luck as you move forward in your life.

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  8. Oh Kaye I didn't know. Glad you're back and thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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  9. So beautiful and true!!! Something we should all live by THank you for sharing Kay!

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  10. I am so glad you are blogging. Great advice for many, but very personal for me. Thanks my friend.

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  11. Cancer diagnosis or no, this is awesome advice for all to live by!!! I'm so glad I found your blog via Kim Haugh! Thank you for sharing your "wonderings"

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