Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Live like you were dying!

What does it mean to really live like you are dying? I have thought about it twice in the past two semesters. I have listened to someone address their diagnosis of Stage 4 Colon Cancer and how that person's paradigm shift of the world affected who they are and everyone they knew.

Jeannie Chatelain's Challenge: Live one day out of the year as if your death was imminent, meaning you knew you would die in 3 months or less, or possibly tomorrow. How does your worldview and do you change because of this?

My response:If it were my last day on earth how would I live my life?
 I would try to visit all of my family I could and tell them I love them, write more notes of appreciation, give them our family pictures, I would hug them more,kiss them more, share my feelings of love and appreciation with my friends and family more often. 
Would I forgive others who have offended me? 
Yes, I would try my best to forgive all who have ever offended me.
 I would try my hardest to also ask others for forgiveness who I may have offended.
Would I Celebrate and reconnect with loyal and old friends?
 I would try to do this through Skype or an online video chat with family and dear friends I could not visit in person. I would try to visit as many of them as I could.
 I would write more notes of Gratitude for friends and family's service. 
Would I welcome new friendships? I would welcome new friendships and be so thankful for strong supports who strengthen me through their personal experiences with adversity.
Would I tell my spouse I love them more often? YES! Would I show my spouse I love them more often? 
I would try to help them with whatever they need, make their burden lighter and would try to use humor and kindness, and to be happy and joyful around them. 
I would show more affection, intimacy and love to them, and appreciate my spouse for who they are. How would my life change if I were to know that I might not be here tomorrow? 
I would value my relationships, love, friendships and co-workers more than I ever have. 
I would be thankful to physically be on earth and be able to breathe, walk, talk, sleep, watch my son play, watch him smile and laugh, hug him and snuggle him and kiss him. 
I would take every opportunity possible to share my talents with others and empower children and teens to believe in their dreams and do what they love!   
I would sing in church more often and in communities and Institute. I would try out for more plays and act on stage. I would try to take better care of my body and my appearance.
 I would realize the divine worth of souls.
 I would have more empathy and compassion for others going through traumatic experiences.
 I would enjoy life to the fullest.
I would realize the ultimate of my divine potential and what being a literal Daughter of god and spiritual Daughter of God really means.

Jeannie Chatelain's Story- She died 2 weeks ago and survived past the 2 year average mark of most Colon Cancer Patients diagnosed at her stage.

From her audio file given April 2011
Gratitude in the Face of Adversity
Adjustments in our Lifestyle are usually small.
Once in a while traumatic experiences and they are difficult and challenging circumstances, come along we have to completely change our views of the world and how we thought it was going to be for her life. Our view of the future has to change.  Examples of these types of stressors are; Divorce, Loss of a loved one, birth of a child, loss of a child, family move, job loss, financial reversal, birth of a child with special needs, being diagnosed with a chronic illness,  or having a child diagnosed and treated for a chronic illness, or becoming disabled,  having lost all our possessions in a house fire.  In Jeannie’s case a diagnosis of Stage 4 Colon Cancer, to advanced for any cure in an Oncologist Office—in June 2009. She was told her cancer was terminal and that she would die from it, and they could give her treatment to buy her some more time. She was told that if she decided not to get treatment she might not live past the next 6 months. The average life expectancy with treatment was 2 years. It is painful to give up all of your plans for your future. A person in this situation mourns the process of life that they wanted to live. 37 Chemo treatments her family has been very close to her and been a great support for her, helping her through the treatments.In her mourning period her family and spouse helped her a great deal. Church Community, neighbors and other friends gave her cards, calls, good wishes, offers of help and service. She talked openly about her illness with supportive people.
Faith and prayers have helped her in the mourning process. She is a person of faith, and is humbled and uplifted by others prayers for her. She is uplifted by her prayers and faith.
This new life has plenty of room for joy in it, things for which we can be grateful. These are Jeannie’s Thankful’s and Grateful’s lists.
1.      Support of the people around me. The experiences of others strengthen her and give her friends empathy for her condition. Since both of her friends had supported their loved ones through terminal illnesses.
2.      Thankful for the Cancer Caregivers. Doctors and Nurses are kind and try to help make the journey positive.
3.      Drawing strength from Good Examples through Adversity: Her sister who has use of only one side of her body, sings in a choir, serves in her church and has But life requires that you face the situation you’re given and do the very best you can
4.      She’s thankful for health insurance. The costs are unbelievable.
5.      Thankful for Adaptability- we have the ability to adjust to changes in our lives with enough time we can get use to almost anything.
6.      Thankful for music- uplifting
7.      Greatful for humor- lighten and brightens everything
8.      Thankful for Skype and Nationwide Calling Plans
9.      Grateful for 12 months or more of feeling great. She handles chemotherapy better than most people.
10.  Thankful for the changes of my attitudes of my life. The chores  Sunsets are prettier, bird songs are prettier, and the more appreciation for the people around me and can express my love for them. Thankful for the life we have and how happy she is that she can spend it with her husband. Chased her friends down their driveway to give hugs to them
11.  Stuff that doesn’t matter, Relationships and people are important and how we help and treat eachother.
12.  It’s interesting to know when you are going to die. Encourages the making of wonderful memories. Make memories with the grandchildren and families, take lots of pictures, get our financial affairs in order- for an easier transition when she’s gone. Allows her family to grieve my loss before it happens.
13.  Begin to let myself off the hook. Strength that holds her family together. She has worried about how her family will survive without me. She has neither the wisdom nor the power to fix this ongoing condition. Turns over the rest to God. If Miracles need to happen she’s sure that they will. Latest CT Scan is being successful and can go to her daughter’s wedding- she is very thankful for that.
Challenge- to choose one day a year to live your life that day as if you were expecting imminent death. How does it change your behavior?

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