In her latest blog, the actress shares how her sister's battle with cancer taught her to truly live her life.

By peoplestaff225
November 11, 2013 02:00 PM

With Natalia – Courtesy Michelle Stafford

Thank you for welcoming Michelle Stafford to our celebrity bloggers series.

The two-time Emmy Award-winning actress is best known as Phyllis on The Young and the Restless, a role she played for 15 years.

Now mom to daughter Natalia Scout Lee, 3½, Stafford blogs on everything from body and style to decor and men on her “Doing It as a Single Chick” website.

She is currently the co-creator, co-writer and star of The Stafford Project, a web series that debuted in August. As a tongue-in-cheek depiction of Stafford’s life, the series has been called “terrific and audacious” by TV Guide.

The show can be viewed on her website and on YouTube. Additionally, Stafford, 48, can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Around this time last year, my sister Janine found out she had stage-three breast cancer. A couple of months ago, she was deemed “cancer free.”

She recently had her final surgery. She responded very well to her treatment; we know that we are lucky, that not all stories go this way. She attributes her success to her great doctors and the positivity she received from her family.

“Positivity.” It’s an interesting thing. You can’t pretend it. I believe you either are or you aren’t.

We all believed that my sister was going to get better. There was no other thought. Even in the darkest moments, there was no other thought.

Ready to race – Courtesy Michelle Stafford

During this past year’s journey, I looked very closely at my own life. My entire family was, in a sense, forced — by my sister’s condition — to examine their own lives. My conclusion: Life is a gift. It’s a gift. My question: What are you doing with it?

To me, it’s not about how much money you have or what “important” people you know. It’s not about cars or dresses or shoes. It’s about HOW you are living, what you are doing for others, what you are doing for yourself, what you are creating — what you are doing with this gift of life!

When I looked, I found answers … and frankly, they were bleak. I realized I wasn’t living the life I had wanted. So, I changed things around. Many people were stunned. Some didn’t understand.

I learned that you have got to live a life that is worth something to you. You have got to take chances, you have got to be bold. There are no mistakes. This road we’re on is created by ourselves. It’s either a fun ride or it isn’t. And it’s up to you. No one else decides for you.

Janine and me – Courtesy Michelle Stafford

My sister’s cancer obviously changed her life forever. But honestly, I must tell you, it made me examine my own life and who I am as a woman and human being. It made me more honest with myself, caused me to honestly address the choices I had made. And it gave me courage.

So, my message: LIVE! Take care of yourselves. Love yourselves. Live the life you want. There is no do-over; do it now.

This is just a letter to all of you beautiful, beautiful women. Take an honest look at the life you’re living and then address it. You may be surprised at what you find. You may even be shocked. But I believe you will never be sorry.

With Janine, my mom Paulette and Natalia – Courtesy Michelle Stafford

— Michelle Stafford

More from Michelle’s PEOPLE.com blog series:

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