Tag Archives: Blog

Raw, Real & OH So Inspirational ‘A Note from Maya: Life, death & the dentist’ by Maya Amoils – Aren’t I Lucky Enough To Call Maya My Cousin & BFF. My Cancer Fighting Bumble Bee

To preface this piece written by my cousin is near impossible. But, here goes.

Maya in her typical ‘pose’

What I can say is this. I have always been so incredibly proud of you my ‘little cousin’ Maya. To find out at 28, you would be; and are fighting against the dreaded ‘C’ was|is devastating. I am amazed at how inspirational your post is, how much courage and strength you possess and how absolutely beautiful you remain.

Maya & Mishie | Maya & Honey

Sharing these words is a privilege. For those going through any battle – let it light and guide your way, and I hope you look forward to your next visit to the Dentist!

You may be thinking wow, your sister, aunt and now cousin? No it’s not genetic; it’s a ‘bad luck’ of the draw & it sucks. You should know we actually have pretty damn awesome genes thanks to dip (carol ann), dorry (dee) & ducky (sands) I mean HELLO, our amazing Nana survived for a couple of years in complete heart failure and with a triple G cup which by 84 meant her b**bs reached her knees, which could kill anyone! We are all fighters !

Me, the three sisters, momma and aunties & My

My, My My, just don’t you ever forget we ARE in your corner, we have done it with debs, aunty dip and we will do it with you!

Here are a few tidbits about our My My you may not know.

When younger we were all enthralled by our littlest cousins antics – her bronx accent? Whilst born and raised in Cincinnati? Giving herself timeouts (yip herself), her refusal to wear socks if they weren’t inside out, her not so soft renditions of all the songs from the Lion King, her mushroom hairstyle and refusal to change it, her dress sense *cringe* and then her ability to melt anyone’s heart with a little smile and those dimples.

Mishie & Ultra Cool My My

At that tender age her stubbornness and tenacity shone through (even getting my tough rugga bugga dad dressed up as a ‘pretty ‘pretty princess’).

My My, Dad & Mishie

Who knew that so many years later these traits would become crucial in her world and to her existence.

As Maya grew up and the age gap between us shrank figuratively ,us girls Mishie her sister (another beauty and rocket scientist I adore) become far closer than cousins. We truly are the best of friends and heart sisters. Soulmates who share the same stars in the night sky – even living 10 000 miles apart.

Soul Sisters | Cousins | BFFS

In fact Maya and I are incredibly similar…. in personality, humour and perhaps a few (or more *big eyes* quirks here and there oh and our stubbornness.

Cousins?

That’s where it ends, unfortunately for me 🙂 She is the beauty, brains and ….. b**bs.

I stand in awe of a cousin who grew up to be absolutely magnificent, incredibly capable, successful beyond.

Someone who literally walked and worked with the ‘stars’ whilst to me, outshining them in every way.

My My thinking of you today and always my mind drifts back to memories of you belting out and of course making us all sing “Hakuna Matata” – “Means No Worries For The Rest Of Your Life” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” – my cousin let it be so, and not just tonight but every night until I see you later this year, I hope you feel the HUGE amount of love I have in my heart for you.

Now for that post | note | most inspirational entry

A Note from Maya: Life, death & the dentist

Journal entry by Team Maya — May 22, 2019A few days after I got my diagnosis in November, I went to the dentist. A few days following that news meant that the world was raw and triggering. Every minute felt terrifying. So when my hygienist asked, “Have you had any recent changes to your health?” the poor woman really had no idea what she was unleashing.

I spent the hour fighting through tears and silence and awkwardness. When I checked out, the receptionist asked if I would like to schedule my next appointment, six months from now. I froze. I didn’t know much about my diagnosis,  but I knew enough from the glimpses of terror in my mom’s voice to know that things did not look good. That there might not be a six months from now.

Today, I got a reminder that my dentist appointment is on 05/28, six days from now. 05/28 also happens to be the birthday of one of my very best childhood friends who passed away in a tragic hiking accident. I made 05/28 the password on my phone as a daily reminder to myself to live my days as fully as she did. I couldn’t help but marvel at that coincidence and reflect on how much has permanently changed. So much can happen in an instant, yet the world keeps turning and everything’s the same. It still rains on days you want it to be sunny and is sunny on days you want it to rain. There is still life, death, taxes, and the dentist.

I haven’t written much about this whole experience, but lately I started to write a letter to myself, to the Maya who stood in line at reception wondering if she should make her next appointment, from the Maya now.

In it, I talk a lot about odds. The odds of getting into Stanford. The odds of getting a job at Google. The odds of getting stage 4 ovarian cancer as a perfectly healthy 28-year-old. With 0/20,000 cancer genes. With parents, an uncle, and a sister, as doctors.  

What I conclude from these head-scratching odds is this: life is going to be short for everyone, no matter how long it is. And while we walk the planet, the only thing any of us has is our ability to extract meaning from experience.

What I have taken away from this experience is:

1. That life is a sport, best played as a team. And my team fucking rules. My parents are the most phenomenal souls I know. My sister is my hero. My friends and family are who you want by your side in a boxing match, in an ER, or in bed on a lazy Friday after chemo. Soulmates come in all shapes and forms if we let them. They can even come as dogs.

2. That you should write down 3 things you are grateful for each day. Especially on the days you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for. The last entry I wrote in the gratitude journal that sits by my desk reads, “getting to start chemo tomorrow.” Tonight, I will write “getting to finish chemo tomorrow.”

3. That you should be kind to strangers and generous to the world. You can learn a lot from your neighbors. Even if they are 82, they can become your friends.  

4. That in the face of the unknown, the only way through is one breath and one day at a time. One song at a time can work, too (thank you Rachel Platten, thank you Lupe, thank you GRiZ.)

5. That with all my unexplainable odds, I am no more, or less, special than anyone else.

Throughout this journey, I have held mantras sacred. My dad shared one a while ago that I use often — relax, trust, go downstream. He also taught me a very important one, “I am not attached to the outcome. No matter what happens, I will handle it.

I do not know the outcome of tomorrow. Or the next six months. I pray it is the end of treatment for me. But it may not be. What I do know is that I will go to the dentist next week. And I have never been more excited for a dentist appointment. That horribly mundane, dreaded experience has now become a chance to celebrate that I’m here and a chance to remember everyone I love.  

I end my letter to Maya-At-The Dentist saying this:

Your experience has been an extraordinary one. Let it undo you. Let it break you and make you whole again. Walk away from it bigger, brighter and filled with what you need to live like your soul is on fire.   

That is how you live a vibrant life in the face of death, darling. You stare it down and blind it with compassion and laughter and love and human connection. You defeat it with the conviction to make it better.

I would not be here, able to have any conviction, without you — my team in the arena, on the bench, and in the stands far away. For the unwavering messages of love and support, for “being there” in every sense of the term — thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I cannot say it enough.

I hope someday I can find a way to repay the amount of generosity I’ve received back into the world but, in the meantime, I hope you can find a way to look forward to your next trip to the dentist.

With love and appreciation, 
Maya

Follow Maya’s journey here

50 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature…

Just had to share these … the feelings, thoughts and memories words can evoke simply amaze me….

default

2. “In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

3. “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”

4. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

isntitpretty1

6. “Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”
—Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

7. “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

8. “What are men to rocks and mountains?”
—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

108ff413429deb01b27e7d192c4a4e4445da

 

10. “‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

11. “The curves of your lips rewrite history.”
—Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

12. “A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

0ca3f0c8cc29bdab9dd639ca19b120b6

14. “As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts and the Two Thoughts he thought were these: a) Anything can happen to anyone. and b) It is best to be prepared.”
—Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

15. “If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.”
—W. H. Auden, “The More Loving One”

16. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden

and_in_that_moment_i_swear_we_were_infinite_by_livelouder-d5pb6ux

18. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
—William Shakespeare, Hamlet

19. “America, I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.”
—Allen Ginsburg, “America”

20. “It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.”
—W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

there-is-a-sense-in-which-we-are-all-each-others-consequences-quote-1

22. “At the still point, there the dance is.”
—T. S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

23. “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
—Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

24. “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”
—Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

LetTheWildRumpusStartInSkyBlueRGB-crop-3x4.jpg.th

26. “The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order.”
—Toni Morrison, Beloved

27. “How wild it was, to let it be.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Wild

28. “Do I dare / Disturb the universe?”
—T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

he-was-unheeded-happy-and-near-to-the-wild-heart-of-life-he-was-alone-and-young-and-wilful-and-quote-1

30. “She was lost in her longing to understand.”
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

31. “She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
—Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”

32. “We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”
—Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead

quotes-only-connect_2399-1

34. “The half life of love is forever.”
—Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her

35. “I sing myself and celebrate myself.”
—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

36. “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”
—Bram Stroker, Dracula

37. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”
—L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

38. “I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”
—Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”

39. “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
—Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre

5be7b9ba2083d46d863bb81b5ac3f3a5

41. “I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”
—W. B. Yeats, “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”

42. “It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes.”
—Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

43. “For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.”
—Langston Hughes, The Big Sea

tumblr_m1s2y9inWF1qjwpaio1_500

45. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

46. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

47. “Journeys end in lovers meeting.”
—William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Beauty-is-truth-truth-beauty__quotes-by-John-Keats-13

 

49. “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

50. “One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
—Cassandra Clare, The Infernal Devices

Credit – Buzzfeed