Sunday, 3 March 2013

A Warrior and a Survivor

I remember mentioning in a previous post last summer that I have a sense of urgency about living life to the fullest.  I still do.  I thought that maybe some of the urgency would have abated by now.  It hasn't.  I am so thankful that my husband is willing to be patient with my wanting to be living fully and in the present.

I mentioned that we attended as many draws (games) as we could during the  week-long Scotties Tournament of Hearts.  The whirlwind of working and attempting to experience as much of the Scotties as possible took a toll on both my husband and I.  We were both exhausted at the end of last weekend when it finished but I am so glad that I attended as much as I did.

This weekend is the Kingston Canadian Film Festival.  Yesterday my husband and I went downtown, saw two films and attended a Question and Answer session with Mychael Danna, the Academy Award-winning Canadian film composer, who won the Best Original Score for Life of Pi.  We finished with a wonderful dinner out and then visited with some good friends.  It was a great day.  The first film we saw was called "Still Mine".   It was based on a true story about Craig Morrison in New Brunswick who built a home suitable for his wife who was suffering from Alzheimers.  I loved the film which was directed by Canadian director Michael McGowan.  It evoked tears and filled me with emotion as a husband cares so deeply for his ailing wife.  Talk about being a warrior and a survivor!  He was 88 when he started to build this smaller one level home for his wife!  I would definitely recommend it as a "must see".  The second film we saw was "Blood Pressure" which was billed as a psychological thriller.  I enjoyed it but not as much as "Still Mine".

Needless to say, I'm tired today because I also did all my laundry in the early hours yesterday morning so I could go out without any guilt about what needed to be done at home.  I am a survivor!!  I'm living life fully in the present.  I often feel like I'm trying to wring out every drop of enjoyment of every single day.

I was on facebook earlier this morning and I came across a video which I found very inspiring.  There was a young lady with a port who was hooked up for her chemotherapy injections.  She had the nurses and herself dancing along to some music as the chemo was pumped into her.  Whether this actually happened, I don't know, but I do know that the video went onto show people holding signs saying "SURVIVOR" and also sickly looking people holding onto signs saying "WARRIOR".  I really connected with this video.  When I saw the IV poles with the pumps and tubing hooked into people, I felt very disturbed.  I felt sick and could almost taste the chemical taste I used to have when the chemo was going into me.  However, the smiles of the young lady on the video also reminded me of the enjoyable visits I had with the nurses and the volunteers (we used to call them candy-stripers when I was a child) who would come by to visit, ask me if I wanted anything to drink, or take my pulse, blood pressure and temperature.  The video brought back memories of being a "warrior" throughout the treatments and the roller coaster side effects.  I was a "warrior".  I am now a "survivor"!

Life is for enjoying.  Yes we have daily responsibilities but, typically, those responsibilities will always be there for another time.  I'm continuing to learn to put enjoyable adventures ahead of the drudgery.  However, I also recognize that I need to stop sometimes and let my body catch up on its rest.  My husband has been a little concerned that my zest for life is going to run my body down.  I do recognize when I'm tired and then I stop just long enough for the body to catch up to my drive to live.  Surviving does not mean just existing.  In my opinion, surviving means grabbing life with both hands and living in the moment so that there are wonderful memories for when we are unable to live fully.  I can always watch television or play on the computer when I'm not feeling well or when I'm too tired to participate fully in life.  No guilt for not doing laundry or keeping the house spotless and dust free.  I'll get to those chores.  That's why the other day I went outside in the sunshine and enjoyed the warm sun on my back as I rolled up three balls of packed snow and built a snowman!  It brought me great pleasure as I heard the chickadees and robins singing.  The snow was glistening and full of ice crystals as a result of the brief freezing rain we had. I used a couple of shoots of my grape vines for the arms. The eyes were made from leftover debris from my irises.  I rolled the long, brown, limp leaves up into a ball and planted them on the face of the snowman.  I decided to use some humour and make the mouth using a red circular plastic lid.  I put it on the face and now the snowman looks like he has a shocked "O" for a mouth.  I finished decorating him with my daughter's hat and matching scarf from when she was a much younger child. Yes, my hands were stiff afterwards due to the mitts being soaked with melted snow.  Yes, my feet were a little damp and cold because some snow fell down the insides of my boots.  But I enjoyed the fresh air and I was able to put my mitts and socks on the heat vents inside so they could dry.  There's nothing like putting on some dry socks straight off the register.  They were so warm!

I think that some of my urgency is due to the fact that so many people I have known have not survived the terrible cancers that they had.  The other part of it is, you just never know when it might return.  I just want to leave positive footprints on this earth.  I want to get through my "bucket list".  I must admit that I get distracted and experience other things that are not on my "list".  I eventually make my way back to my bucket list.  I'm hoping to cross another couple of items off of it this year.  I'M A SURVIVOR AND LIFE IS GRAND!!

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