Live Like You Were Dying

For me, this is the title of a great song from Tim McGraw about making the most of every day. And one real-life hero, who has set a great inspirational example for us all, is Susan Briscoe, who wrote an article for the Huffington Post. It appeared on March 9, 2018. It is titled : “I Am Dying From Terminal Cancer. Here’s What It’s Taught Me About Living.”

Susan, you are really one of my heroes. We wish you the very best. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

As Briscoe says about her situation:

“Pre-diagnosis, I had just turned 50 and was extremely fit, healthy, and happy. Nobody could keep up with me! I was excited about life. It had occurred to me that, with my family’s excellent longevity genes — and some good luck — I might very well live another 50 years. I was enthused about the 30 years’ worth of creative activities and research projects that I had ambitiously sketched out for myself. Both my sons, also healthy, happy, and on-track, had moved out on their own; and after more than 20 years of solo parenting, I was ready for a little more fun. Deeply aware of and grateful for all the privileges that made my wonderfully full life possible, I figured I had had more joy in life than most would ever have.”

“But I didn’t get the good luck part, so now I am going to die. And that is okay. That was the first thing I told my loved ones. My boyfriend. My parents. My two boys. ‘I have a very bad cancer. I’m not going to be around much longer. It’s okay.’ They looked so hard into my eyes, gripping my hands, tears streaming down their faces, as I told them this. When I got to the ‘okay part, they nodded. They knew I meant it. I was okay. It was okay. They were going to be okay.”

“Many people I meet have imagined me in a state of pure devastation and distress at my diagnosis. Loss brings grief; and because grief is painful, like everyone else, I try to avoid it. But the flip side of grief is gratitude for having had whatever is lost to begin with. I have learned that, to a surprising degree, I have a choice about which side to focus on. I could be sad about all I won’t experience in life ― becoming a grandmother is one of the hardest for me ― or I can be grateful for all the gifts, like my wonderful boys, that I was given and fully appreciated. Choosing a state of gratitude has allowed me to remain happy and even joyous in this time. Yes, there is still grief, but the tears are fleeting, and lately rare.”

The Death Project is a blog where I journal about my life with terminal cancer. I wanted people to know that dying doesn’t have to be as bad as we fear.”

 Click the image to read more about Susan Briscoe’s personal journey.

Live Like You Were Dying

 

Surviving Cancer: Personal Glimpses of Resilience

A while back, I participated in a radio show with two other incredible cancer survivors. Hopefully, you will find this episode to be educational and uplifting. Despite some BIG issues, all three of us are still here — and living life every day.

As host Suzanne Phillips says:

“In this episode, Professor Joel Evans, Patricia Malone, and Dave Berger will share personal glimpses of their diagnosis, treatment and survival from cancer. You will hear about the impact of diagnosis, the role of family and friends. The question of stigma and the response of colleagues. You will hear about the expected and unexpected, the trust in medical teams and the personal factors that each drew upon to keep on going at the roughest of times. These are stories of pain, persistence, fear, gratitude and possibility. These are stories of people who were helped by the wisdom of others who had faced cancer. In this episode, Joel Evans, Patricia Malone and Dave Berger want to pass on their experiences to benefit others. You will not forget them or the resilience they share.”

Click the play icon to listen.

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Role Model for Those with Major Illnesses

Many of us recognize the name Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We know her as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, just the second women to be chosen for the Supreme Court. But do you also that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a role model for those with major illnesses? 

Before reading below, check out her Wikipedia biography by clicking the image.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Role Model
Be sure to look at the video below of Justice Ginsburg exercising with Stephen Colbert. 🙂

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Role Model for Those with Major Illnesses 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now 85 years old. She is about 5 feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. She has overcome significant health issues and remains active on the Supreme Court. She even has a well-chronicled exercise routine. Despite your political persuasion, Justice Ginsburg is a great role model for those of us dealing with major health issues.

As reported by Wikipedia from several sources:

“In 1999, Ginsburg was diagnosed with colon cancer; she underwent surgery that was followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During the process, she did not miss a day on the bench. Ginsburg was physically weakened by the cancer treatment, and she began working with a personal trainer. In spite of her small stature, Ginsburg saw her physical fitness improve since her first bout with cancer; she was able to complete twenty full push-ups in a session before her 80th birthday.”

“On February 5, 2009, she underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg had a tumor that was discovered at an early stage. She was released from a New York City hospital on February 13 and returned to the bench when the Supreme Court went back into session on February 23, 2009. On September 24, 2009, Ginsburg was hospitalized in Washington DC for lightheadedness following an outpatient treatment for iron deficiency and was released the following day.”

“On November 26, 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after experiencing discomfort while exercising in the Supreme Court gym with her personal trainer.”

Justice Ginsburg and Exercise

As described by Katherine Ellen Foley for Quartz Media in March 2017:

“Ginsberg is in better shape than most 83-year-olds (and possibly most people), according to Politico. Twice a week, RBG meets with Bryant Johnson, a 52-year-old ex-military personal trainer, who guides her through an hour-long workout consisting of some cardio, followed by three sets of 10 to 13 reps of weight training for her whole body—including pushups, which she does without the use of her knees, according to Johnson. She also does single-leg squats, and a standing maneuver where she throws a medicine ball to Johnson before sitting down and catching it.”

More recently, Elana Lyn Gross wrote for Business Insider:

“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not defined by her 85 years of age – she works out with her personal trainer, Bryant Johnson, twice a week for an hour. Ginsburg’s workout is a series of full body strength exercises that target arms, chest, legs, back, shoulders, glutes, and abs. Johnson and Ginsburg have been doing the one-hour workout that he details in his book, ‘The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong and You Can Toofor 18 years, aside from the three years he was deployed in Kuwait.”

“The workout starts with a five-minute warm-up and light stretching followed by a strength training session that includes push-ups, planks, chest presses, squats, and hip abductor exercises, then another round of stretches to cool down.”

 
Here’s a video clip of Justice Ginsburg with Stephen Colbert.