Editors' note: Nicholle Anderson, the wife of Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson, will write a blog each Wednesday in November for NHL.com to help mark Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month.
Anderson was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a rare form of throat cancer, last October, and on May 25 was declared cancer-free.
She is serving as a Hockey Fights Cancer Ambassador. Here is her first blog entry.
Love the life you live, live the life you love. - Bob Marley
Often in life, we take our freedom to live for granted. We say yes to things that are sometimes unnecessary. We engage in social media apps to the point that we aren't even living in our moment or enjoying the actual company presenting itself. We allow negative energy in and allow it to affect or ruin our days.
Then the cancer card presents itself, making us realize that these little things that occupy our time truly are a waste of time. These behaviors we create in our everyday lives sometimes are bad habits that prevent us from really enjoying the meaningful things in our lives.
When cancer strikes, your life flashes in front of you like a time warp remembering all the good times in your life. Then you look at your family, and think of how many more memories you want to create. Now your time is so limited. You realize that every day is valuable. Each minute counts. It is funny how the bigger picture presents itself to focus on more of the significant things in life and eliminate those that are not significant.
As you begin treatment, cancer becomes a full-time job. Every minute of your day is scheduled with radiation, chemotherapy, rest, counting calories, taking meds, and battling side effects. The list goes on and on. I remember just wishing that tomorrow would be better. I would tell myself "one step closer" to keep that focus to keep going. You really don't have that freedom to live so freely that we take for granted. That voice in your head talks to you and says, "There are so many things I still have to do." But you can't. You are physically and mentally drained. This is when you realize, going forward you will live your life differently.
This is what I mean by living in the now. Here are just some little reminders.
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- Be there for each other. Whether it is a laughing or crying; support each other. Build those relationships that are meaningful in your life.
- Focus on the positive. Go to bed and think of one thing that was awesome that day. Don't dwell on the thing that didn't go your way.
- Find time to do things you love to do.
- Teach your children to laugh more. Be kind. When life seems chaotic, tell yourself all this doesn't matter and head to the park.
- Eliminate things that cause stress and worry.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Complain less.
- Put your phone down.
Before cancer, I thought my life was carefree; however, after this last year I realized I allowed insignificant circumstances to occupy my time. I allowed things to affect me instead of just focusing on things that always make me happy. The Bob Marley quote is a powerful message and a great reminder to look at your life and assess the things you love, and eliminate the things that bring stress into your life. Now I am starting to live a carefree life.
Cancer changed me as a person, and I want to be able to help all people focus on what truly matters in their lives before it is too late. We all know cancer does not discriminate. It is a common thread that links all of us together. We all will be affected; if not you, a family member, or a friend. It is so disturbing to me to even write that, but it is reality.
It's crazy to think cancer makes you better, but it can be true. Before I thought I was living, but now, after everything, life has just begun.