Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012: What It Means To Me

This is the time of year that a lot of people make resolutions about things they want to change or additions they want to make to their life.  For me, this year, I am resolving two simple things: to be healthy and be happy.  Both are attributes that I previously took for granted.  But now that I have had the chance to fight for my health and see the power and presence it deserves, I have also seen that my general "happiness" is something that I can control and have to continue to work towards.

If someone was talking to me a year ago - 29 years old, five months pregnant, delightfully married, enjoying my career - and said, "Erin.  Take the time to think about your health.  Think about what it would mean if you were no longer healthy.  Think about what it means to question your mortality.  Think about the things you put into your body and how you treat it..."  I would have passed right over these thoughts.  I know I would have been thinking, "I am in great health!  Sure, I have high blood-pressure, but that is from my crazy job.  Sure, I eat pretty healthy, but not all of the time, but it's because I work so much.  Sure, I work out, but I'm not obsessed (like my dad...wink wink)".  I wouldn't have been able to comprehend not being healthy; because I had never been there before.  So, I understand that as I share my thoughts with you now, if you haven't experienced this, it's hard to imagine not being your healthy self.

Fighting for the right to breathe and to live and to exist is so much more than we realize.  It's only when that opportunity of life is flashed before us - maybe it's a car accident or maybe it's a diagnosis or maybe it's a gun in your face - that we realize how much we want to LIVE.  And living is embracing.  And embracing is relishing and honoring those experiences.  It's cherishing the chance to be a wife or a mother or a sister or a daughter.  It's making sure you kiss your kids good night, even when they are asleep.  It's holding hands with your husband while you are in the grocery store aisle.  It's texting your mom and dad to tell them you love them.  It's thanking your sister for being her and realizing how much richer your life is because you have a sister.  It's appreciating the talents of your brother. It's all of these things that make us who we are and having a chance to appreciate them, because we are healthy.

What we need to do, at least once a day, is appreciate how amazing our body is.  The millions upon millions of cells that work in coordination to keep us moving and thinking and breathing like clockwork is a miracle.  When I was first diagnosed, I felt like my body had betrayed me.  I didn't understand how something like this could happen to me.  What I see now is that it takes only one cell; one teeny-tiny little cell to mutate and take control.  So instead of wasting my time on that one cell that went haywire, I am going to be grateful for the millions of other cells that are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.  And for that little shit of a cell that turned on me, I am going to do everything in my power to beat the crap out of it.  And that is where my happiness comes from :)

I spent too much time last year crying and grieving.  I understand that it was a process I had to go through, but in the midst of all of that crying and grieving, I had things to celebrate.  I had a husband by my side, loving and caring for me.  I had a beautiful, perfect baby boy.  I have a beautiful home with heat and comfortable beds and room for all of my caregivers to stay with us.  I have insurance that prevents me from being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.  I have a message to share - and a voice to share that message.  This is my year of happiness.  And I am going to look at the things I go through as a few mountains to climb on my journey.  But I am a climber and I am a fighter.  I deserve to be happy and I trust myself to let my head and heart get me there.  Plus, I'm not going to let one shitty little cell dictate my physical and emotional state.

So, to 2012....what you mean to me is optimism.  And hope.  And smiles.  And courage.  And when I falter or hit a stumbling block, I am going to remember that my health is worth fighting for...and my happiness is going to be the drive that keeps me going.

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