Virginia

It’s kind of an oxymoron for me, this whole life and death thing. When I was 8 years old I tried to commit suicide. I drank disinfectant when I was in an orphanage… So I’m lucky to be alive today. But unfortunately that wasn’t the only time, because I’ve suffered with chronic depression all my life, so that’s been a constant struggle with me. A lot of that is putting the good face forward, but underneath you’re dying. And literally now I’m dying from putting the good face forward all those years. It’s really ironic that I wanted to end my life, but now I’m struggling to have my life go on. 

And so I think in a lot of ways it has made me really, really, really, really appreciate life. And I think my goal for the future would be to stop controlling, to listen to people’s stories, and give them my attention, and be part of life… Live in the moment. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. Boy, that’s probably the hardest thing any of us can do, is live in the moment. 

The biggest advice I can say is, if you have a support system, ask for help. If you don’t have one, go to a group. Try to find some kind of help and support. It’s very important. And I think emotionally, mentally – you have to talk it out, just talk it out. You just can’t go through this, because you end up internalizing it, and I think that really could block your recovery. 

The fact is you need to deal with the reality. And then once you’ve done that, you can set all that stuff aside and enjoy the time you have left and not dwell on the cancer… Go on and enjoy the Farmer’s Market, or a walk in the woods or sitting on the beach, or whatever you want to do, your friends. 

I heard someone say cancer was a gift… and I thought, well, these people are nuts! I mean, how could this be a gift? But in some ways it’s a gift of time… Take charge of your life. We’re given this gift of time that we can decide what we want done. I mean, I’m going to plan one hell of a party for my funeral!