In her PEOPLE.com blog, Diem Brown, the Real World/Road Rules Challenge contestant diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the second time, opens up about her desire for a child and the ups and downs of cancer and fertility procedures.
Every year when Jan. 1 rolls around, we start making a list of resolutions. My list starts off with three things I would like to make resolutions to change.
The list may start with three items, but if you’re anything like me, that list of resolutions quickly turns into a full-length single-spaced page!
This year I made my list once again, but after looking at it I realized something: It’s great to make list of things you want to change or improve, but it can become overwhelming. I think a lot of us live in the past or are looking forward to becoming what we want to be in the future.
Looking back now, I envy the days before I knew what cancer was. I was na ve about the impact of cancer and, frankly, the word death wasn’t in my vocabulary.
Looking forward, I can dream about the future when I will be free of cancer. I can dream of the days when all of the physical side effects from cancer and chemo are gone and I can just be a normal healthy girl. I can dream of the future when one of my frozen IVF egglettes becomes a beautiful healthy baby. We can all dream of the perfect hope for our future painted the way a child envisions that anything is possible.
Dreaming and hoping are amazing emotions, but after writing down my new list of 2013 resolutions, I realized something else: I’m missing the celebration of the present moment. I know who I was in the past before life’s curve balls were thrown at me, and I can imagine what the future will be once I conquer my illness. But in this moment right now, I am forgetting to celebrate who and where I am today.
Updating My New Year’s List
I want to make a new resolution that sits at No. 1 of my 2013 list. I want to accept who I am today. I want to look in the mirror and accept my bald cancer-fighting self. I want to be grateful for how lucky I am to have beaten ovarian cancer once and how lucky I am to be in the fight beating this stupid disease again.
I think while going through treatment you start feeling like you are on a merry-go-round. You’re on a precise schedule of treatments, blood tests, CT scans etc. While on this ride, you can miss the notion of how lucky you are to be able to have these resources to fight cancer.
This realization came to me after I caught myself acting like a complete crazy person. My doctor told me they don’t like doing CT scans before Christmas in case of bad news, but that I should come in after Christmas for a scan. Instead of being thankful for that protocol, I was annoyed.
“Well what does that mean? Does that mean you expect a bad CT scan?” I wondered. My head was all over the place and when I went in for my CT scan days after Christmas, I was embarrassingly moody.
The whole cancer thing is scary and all a patient wants are black or white answers. “Is the chemo working? When will I be done with all this cancer crap? What test can y’all do to let me know if the cancer is going away?”
Yes those are cancer type questions, but exchange “cancer” for another illness and I think all patients want the answers to those same sorts of questions.
As I look down at my 2013 resolution list, I am trying to find ways to live in the moment and be grateful for the moment I am in. I want to accept who I am today, accept what I look like today, accept the treatments I am able to do today.
The future will come and I can daydream about my ideal future, but I won’t get to that future without living in the present and doing everything possible today to be able to enjoy tomorrow.
So no matter what your New Year’s resolutions may be, set goals and go after them, but at the same time be grateful for the person you are today. By accepting who you are today, the path to becoming your “better self” becomes more enjoyable.
Lastly, be proud of how much you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come from your past self. Get motivated and be excited for how you can accomplish your future goals and be your ideal version of yourself.
But most importantly, know that the greatest gift you have is living, loving, and accepting yourself in the present moment no matter how long your 2013 resolution list may be! 😉
Here’s to an amazing start of 2013 … Happy New Year!
Check back for updates every Thursday: Diem will be chronicling exclusively for PEOPLE.com her journey through fertility treatments, chemotherapy and her quest to educate others about ovarian health. You can also follow her on Twitter @DiemBrown.
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