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Eat Pie First: Unsolicited Advice from a Cancer Patient

I truly never thought I would be in this position. I am still finding it pretty odd that this reality has become my life and soon my new “normal”. I am sure as my hair starts falling out soon, I will have to grip with this situation and know that it will not stop from becoming mine. When anyone is dealt a hand like this, you quickly start to think differently. Life will never be the same. Experts always talk about a fight or flight as an attitude when tough obstacles arise.

And I’ve always been a fighter at heart. But something about flight, has always been appealing. I daydream about traveling all the time. And when I initially heard this news and Evan asked me what I wanted to do, my first thought was incredibly far-fetched, I wanted to be away. I wanted to literally get on a plane and fly to the coast of somewhere and not think about this news. My poor husband was left with,” Do I really sink our savings to take my wife with cancer to another country before she starts chemo?” Of course, we didn’t, the Lord lifted me up and armed me for battle…but as I’ve lived this truth for the last month I can guarantee you that next year, when I kick cancer’s face off, we will live differently. And I will visit that coast. It’s strange to be in a position where I could give people advice on how to live, but since I have cancer I figure I have a few good tips.

  1. Eat pie first. I mean c’mon. Why are we waiting to eat the pie last? And I’m talking homemade, real ingredients, love poured in the pie shell kinda pie. (I type this as I am savoring a pecan pie from Tiny Pies…Austinites check them out...delish!) Yep, savor that sucker first. The rest can come after.

  1. Stop complaining. I cannot even start y’all. Since my diagnosis, I have walked grocery aisles and have heard the most ridiculous complaints. Just stop. Try to just shush. Because I bet if you were to stand in a circle and throw your problems in the middle with a group of other people, you would be dive bombing your body for those problems back. And if you’re truly unhappy with something, then for flounder’s sake change it, but be shush about it.

  2. Be aware of your surroundings. There is always a chance to make someone’s day better. Whether it is helping them, or paying them a compliment. Manners sure have flown out the window these days and it’s quite sad. As I start to suffer from chemo brain and forgetting things or just not feeling well, it really makes me think about how people affect another person’s day.

  3. Road ragers- calm the heck down. Please take a deep breath and get over yourself. If they don’t get in the right lane, don’t ride their tail or get all up in their left-hand mirror or honk or flick them off. Just go around them. It is not your job to teach people how to drive on the road. It is your job to be a good person and to leave people’s day better than it was before they saw you (or that should be our job anyway.) Why are people the most rude, obnoxious jerks behind the wheel. Just stop. (You know who you are <3)

  4. Travel now. Don’t wait to take that vacation. Create that bucket list and just go. Start making lists of where you want to travel and each time you get time off, go. Your future is not guaranteed. Today is here and it is a great day, so go travel.

  5. Love your people. Learn what speaks to your loved ones and wash them over with that love. Some love gifts, some love quality time, some love words of affirmation. We too often take people for granted, especially those closest to us. Love them fiercely, laugh with them and appreciate them.

  6. Take care of yourself. Yes, cancer is a bulldozer. But that doesn’t mean we don’t owe it to ourselves and our kids and future generations to learn how to live better. Go pick your foods from the earth, grow the foods you can, stretch your legs and exercise your body, buy a chicken if you can for your own eggs, support local restaurants that work hard to provide you with good, healthy food. Stop using home products that have a billion chemicals in them. Download ThinkDirty and use it please. Try to avoid horribly processed foods that do nothing for our bodes. And most importantly find faith, if you have none at all I urge you to try, if yours is flailing, just start talking out loud to Him, he can take the anger, he can take the misunderstanding, all He wants us to know is no matter what He loves us and He yearns for that special relationship with just us (not the church, not the religion...{those can be good too just not my focus here}) just a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a good way to start that is by opening up the lines of communication. When I get into the car by myself, I usually turn off my music and just talk to God. I confess how I should have been better and I ask for help, I tell him the desires of my heart, I pray hard, openly and honestly. God wants to know what we want, he wants our lives to be fruitful and joyous. But when we live these lives we must be humble, glorifying God in all that we do and serving others around us.

  1. Stop making so many rules. Just live. If you baby needs to be close to you at night then just let them. If your daughter asks for one more book, read it. If your son needs that extra time for goodness sake put down your phone and be present. I have always known my babies would grow so fast and I just never wanted to wish away their babyhood. So, I stood rocking each of my babies to sleep for the longest time. I would lay next to Halen’s bed for hours until she was fast asleep. I co-slept with Henley for seven glorious months because I wanted her as close to me as possible, to breathe her in. And now that I have cancer, I am glad I did all of that. I never wanted to feel like I didn’t savor every single precious moment with them. Life slips by so fast y'all. Don't put unimportant things in front of your kids. SO, if you feel that pull, give in. Don’t listen to anyone telling you otherwise.

  2. Don’t wait to give back. Many of us say, “Oh I’ll donate or tithe or give back later when I have extra money.” That is silly. And honestly (and shamefully) our mindset up until now. Of course, I gave in different ways…my way of showing love is through cooking, baking, and gifts. I have always done this, but always felt guilty about donating money when I knew I didn’t have much to give. But as this reality continues to sink in I wish we had started tithing from the get go, that we donated monthly to a charity that we felt called to, that we volunteered our time more regularly. It is important, build it in, it’s never too late to start.

  3. Live outside the box. Somehow the “American Dream” has turned upside down. Now more than ever before people can live outside the box, color outside the lines. We no longer have to be confined by the “factory worker life” or “cubicle lifestyle” that our parents grew in. We shouldn’t feel owned by our jobs that make us unhappy or that our jobs rule our life. Yes, this career change/lifestyle change may take risk, but oh the reward…time freedom, eventual financial freedom. Who deemed the "normal" American life to be where parents work away, outside from the home, and the kids are being raised daily somewhere else? Or pressure for a certain (failing) public education? To rarely take vacation and be up to our eyeballs in debt. How is that the “American Dream”? Sure... I am speaking on behalf of myself. And some have no problem with this way of life. But I can tell you right now it doesn’t work for me. I want more and now it is actually an achievable option this day in age. So, if you aren’t happy living in the rat race, reach outside the “norm” for something more, something better. I know we are. I don’t want to be physically tied down to one place. (Why do we have to be?) If I had it my way I would live my summers in Northern Michigan, autumn wherever the crisp air blew me, winters in Colorado, and spring in Austin. I want to raise my girls and educate them with life lessons, traveling experiences, mission trips and use our educational backgrounds to for their academic growth. I want to work using the 21st century technology blessing that we have these days and share my passion for health, wellness and living a toxin free life. It may seem far-fetched to some by I can promise you I will make this happen and if you yearn for more I encourage you to as well.

A way of life that has inspired me lately is, Oola Life. If you haven't heard of them, check them out. A great book is called Find Balance in an Unbalanced World. #liveoola

oo-la (noun): That state of awesomeness. It is when your life is balanced and growing in the seven key areas of life - the 7 F's of Oola (fitness, finance, family, field (career), faith, friends and fun).

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