What Will Be Your Cancer Moment?

Normally I do not write two blogs in one day.


Normally I don’t have a two day work week.


This week I will be taking a hiatus to attend my cousin’s wedding and spend time with family.  Almost a full week of escape – and that is exactly what I plan to do – escape.  We all need a little escape now and then, a chance to recharge our batteries or to get clarity.


I need the recharge – not the clarity.


We are all given opportunities for clarity; however we don’t always pay attention.  I do.  I’ve learned to pay attention because when I fail to learn my lessons the first time they come back around and normally take a chunk out of my backside.  I have no more backside to give so I figured I better start waking up and pay attention.  I’ve also had my cancer moment.


Sometimes the lessons are presented in stages; I call them little head-slaps from the universe, my mom calls them angle winks and others call them signs.


This weekend I was cleaning and listening to a random selection of music when the song “Live Like You Were Dying” came on.  With most of my music I just bebop around and continue on cleaning but with this one I found myself belting it out much to the surprise of my dogs.  I don’t know if they were more surprised that I was signing so loudly or at how badly I sing…


The next day I was trying to decide what to wear for the wedding; since I have been asked to recite a poem during the ceremony I want to make sure I pick just the right thing.  Then my mind wandered to thinking about my cousin and his fiancé and how I just saw them a couple of weeks ago at his father’s funeral.


I stood in front of family and friends at his funeral and recited something I wrote for my uncle.  The parallel brought tears.


Normally I don’t hear “The treatment is being stopped, every day is a gift.”


Today my heart breaks for my best friend and one of her co-workers.  These two are good friends and have been through a lot together.  Today she was told that the breast cancer had spread to her brain.  When I asked about the prognosis and plan she told me, “Treatment has been stopped, every day is a gift.”




Cancer is pretty cut and dry.  It is horrible and it spreads not just through the body of the victim but also their friends and family.  I know cancer all too well.  It has made home in too many people I care about and their families.


Cancer and I have an ongoing battle.  We fight and we are each ruthless.  Sometimes it wins, and when it doesn’t the battle scars are brutal.  Here is our personal scorecard:


It stole my father from me.

My mom and grandma kicked its ass.

It stole my grandfather from me.

My ex-husband kicked its ass.


I may fight for those I love and my friends affected but the ones with cancer fight harder.  Their fight isn’t just the cancer – they fight for those they love. They downplayed the pain, the fear, the agony, the every-present reality of death.


That’s the funny thing, the victim often try to protect the one’s they love from pain.  They fight for their lives but first and foremost fight your tears.


When it wins there is a moment of peace – a fraction of time where you feel blessed that the pain has ended for the one you love.


In his last hour I knew what was being left undone for my father so I told him the things he needed to hear then watched as he took his last breath.  In that first moment I gave thanks that his suffering was over.  Then the overwhelming grief took over and it lingers for a lifetime.


Someone I used to know was unfortunate to have a mother diagnosed with cancer and I was with him when his mother passed.  In that first moment I saw his body relax and release as he gently kissed her goodbye.  In the next moment when he turned away I saw his body contort with pain, a pain from so deep inside that I felt it to the core.  I would have given anything at that moment to take away that pain.


Cancer brings unbelievable pain but it also brings clarity.  At some point throughout the battle or after you take just a moment to say a prayer and maybe even a take a second to reflect on your own life – to be appreciative of where you are, who is in your life and for your opportunities yet untapped.  Maybe after the battle is over you have regrets of should-haves, would-haves and could-haves.


This moment of clarity and its effect on you that is all well and fine – but why did it take something so monumental to do that?


I remember when my dad was diagnosed he didn’t change.  He didn’t get nostalgic or weepy.  He didn’t treat me any differently or tell me more that he loved me.  We had the kind of relationship that we always knew were we stood with each other.  We knew there was love and we didn’t need cancer to help us say it or make us say it more.


I’ve gone through enough struggles in my life that I still get pissed that I was robbed; my dad isn’t hear to help me through them or kick my butt into turning things around.  However I do honor him in trying to remember our unique relationship.


I don’t leave things unsaid, I try new things and I act silly.  That may mean that I put myself out there only to be hurt, fail or look like a fool – but I wont have a regret if I hear the next day “every day is a gift” or tomorrow I can no longer have those opportunities.


I want life in my living.


Don’t wait for cancer to come alive.  Let something else be your cancer.  Not in a destructive way – but in an enlightenment – what-the-hell-am-I-waiting-for way.


You didn’t get the job you applied for *light bulb*

You got dumped *light bulb*

The garbage disposal broke and is full of stinky gunk *light bulb*

Your dog chewed up your favorite shoes *light bulb*


Any of these things can be a light bulb moment – your own cancer moment.  But if these things ruin your day and consume you then you haven’t gotten your cancer yet.


Because when it all comes down to it all of these things are non-things.  They are events that pass, minor inconveniences in life.  But the real point is life still goes on and there is so much more to it.


I don’t know why you didn’t get the job or the girl – maybe the time just isn’t right or maybe they weren’t right for you.  You could analyze the hell out of it but it isn’t going to change right now.


Maybe the person they hired won’t work out and they will come back and offer it to you; maybe the girl will wake up and realize what she’s been missing – those are all maybes, but not right now.


Right now – that’s what counts.


Right now did you tell the people in your life you love them – even if you don’t like them very much?


Right now did you give appreciation for everything that you do have?  Maybe you don’t have that job but you have the opportunity to go walk barefoot in the park and enjoy the sunshine.  Sure it isn’t paying the bills at this moment but there is nothing like cool grass under your feet and the warmth of sunshine on your face.


Right now you can read this, right now you can chose to make a decision, right now you are alive and breathing.


Right now you can pick up the phone and tell people to go to hell or to come on back in your life.


Right now you can chose to fight or chose to run.


Right now you scrap the script of your life that you have been living and write a whole new one.


Right now you are the main character and you get to decide what you want.


Right now you may be unemployed or unhappy with your job – so right now decide to do something about it and then DO it.  Pursue this new line with the passion of fighting a cancer.


Right now you may think I am a selfish bitch because I chose not to waste time with people who suck the happy out of me, I choose to give as much as I can to those I care about, I forgive people who cause me pain so I can let go not for their redemption, I am okay fighting for things that matter and can walk away from things that don’t.


Right now I do the best I can; although I may fall flat on my face I am still going to try.


Right now people I love know I love them.


Right now get your cancer moment and put life back in your living.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



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