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.
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.