A couple of weeks ago, I was rushing to get the kids off to school. I was trying to get lunches together while making breakfast and well, let’s just say, it was a little chaotic. Even though we were still in the process of trying to get into our school routine (it was only the second week of school), I was irritated when we rushed to the bus stop only to find, that it had already left.
I continued on past the empty bus stop and on to the school, a new school with a new process for drop off and lots of parents still sweetly saying their loving goodbyes to their little people … traffic was a mess. I dropped the girls off at the curb where we said our quick “goodbye” and “have a good day”. I figured that I would just be sitting in a line for a while, so I decided to park in the parking lot and wait it out whilst catching up on my overloaded emails. As I sat in my car, I noticed a big black man in the car next to me. I am sharing those details so you can envision this moment for yourself. Totally oblivious to everything outside the car, he had his music cranked up and he was waving his arms around and “gettin’ down” while his two sons were laughing and watching him. It made me smile and think, “wow, that’s like the total opposite if what just happened in my car.
I continued to sit and waited for the traffic to die down. This man walked his kids into school and upon his return to his car, I rolled down my window to tell him how I really liked the way he was jamming out with his kids this morning. He smiled and chuckled and then said something that really convicted me,
“Oh, thanks, Yeah, that’s just part of our morning routine. I just want them to start their day happy.”
And here I was irritated that I had to deal with the morning traffic at school because they were late to the bus stop. I don’t know how they felt when I dropped them off that morning, but I am pretty sure they weren’t feeling like those two little boys.
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
It’s been a while since I had a moment of inspiration and a quiet moment to write a blog post. These past several months included your typical summer vacation fun. Although, my typical summer activities were coupled with challenges on how to “get in” all the things I am supposed to be doing for my healing: juicing, supplements, exercise, rest, and the list goes on…
I found myself enjoying time with the family and our friends in Idaho, hiking, playing golf, etc., but in the back of my mind I found myself concerned that I didn’t get around to juicing that day, or that my food choices weren’t on my healing protocol. A huge wave of guilt would come over me followed by a phantom twinge in my belly. These tumors in my body have caused me to be hypersensitive to every little feeling that seems out of place.
Over the past couple of years, the journey to heal cancer has been one of lots of ups, downs, twists, and turns. I feel as though I went from began being pretty uneducated on how to help myself, to feeling pretty well infomed after learning about nutrition and what to eat/not eat. But now I am coming back to a place of humility as I realize there is more to this than I thought.
I have been steadily going through Dr. Kelly Turner’s 9 key factors of Radical Remission survivors because I consider it like a guidebook for a successful outcome. It is very inspiring to read anecdotes about people who have integrated changes into their lives and survived this diagnosis.
For such a long time I have focused on the body (what should go into it and what should stay out of it), but not as much of my energy has been on my mind. I am generally a positive and optimistic person, but somehow along the way I didn’t realize how focusing so much on the physical things I was doing, or not getting to do, started to spill into other parts of my life. I would feel stress trying to keep my body as pristine as possible, while my spirit was being pierced with negative thoughts and emotions. How appropriate that key factors 4 and 5 from her book are “Releasing Suppressed and Increasing Positive Emotions”.
“Stress weakens the immune system by changing which neuropeptides our cells release, these are chemicals released by certain cells that then latch on to other cells in your body and create an effect. The good ones are serotonin, dopamine, and relaxin; these are released when you feel relaxed and happy. Neuropeptides that have a weakening effect on the immune system, especially over an extended period of time, include cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline; these are known as stress hormones.”
So, all that time when I had been hearing how stress is bad for you, I never understood exactly what was happening to the body on a cellular level. The challenge is that there isn’t an easy “measure” for stress. It’s not like you can get on scale and it gives you a number. Whether you’re suppressing emotions from your past, experiencing feelings of frustration from your job, family or relationships, or feeling unfulfilled with life in general, it’s important to do a self assessment, address what’s going on, and have an outlet.
I use journaling as my primary outlet. Life as a stay-at-home mom is truly the greatest privilege in the world, but it’s not without its challenges. I wrote this months ago on a particularly stressful day… can you tell?
I hope that I am not the only one that feels like this at one point or another. In their defense, our girls are really amazing, sweet, and responsible. It’s their mother who can get a little too “naggy” sometimes, but hey, who’s perfect?
Increasing positive emotions and being happy is a big one that I am working on right now. I realize that I have allowed cancer to rob me of a lot of joy. With all the changes that I have made to my diet, along with them, came a mindset that at times puts me in a place of resentment or guilt. I am learning to change my mindset, and consider the occasional “cheats” as moments of great joy. Dr. Turner says that “positive emotions are like rocket fuel for the immune system.”
My routine PET scan is tomorrow, oddly I am not afraid. I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I did the clinical trial and if things continue to be stable or better, I graduate to annual scans! Hooray! There hasn’t been as much “scanxiety” leading up to this one because I know God will heal me. I am not perfect, but I know I am doing my best.
I was reminded recently that healing cancer is not a sprint, but a marathon and I feel like I am just hitting my stride. Thank you for reading this post and allowing me to share this journey with you.
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19
Onward and Upward,
I would love to know what you do that makes you happy. Please leave a comment, send me a text, or share this with a friend if you liked this post. I love your feedback! ️
14 thoughts on “Being Happy.”
Cozy on the couch with a book and a cup of coffee (especially if it’s raining outside) 🙂
Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!
Oooh, I love that! Yes!!! Thank you!
The joy of the Lord is our strength!
Healing and lightening of the spirit in all circumstances.
Keep on keeping on, thanks for sharing!! Love you
My beautiful Kay! First of all, I love your posts! Thank you for the gift of your wonderful writing, and I do mean gift! You brighten my day with all your insights and I learn something new every time. Thank you for taking the time to write. When I first started reading this post, I was thinking oh… that music was probably so loud making the situation more chaotic. And then I got your point. Joy… it is a gift we can give our children everyday. We can try to teach them to be the person that dances in the morning, or we can teach them to be the stressed out hurry up perfect person (ok, I admit, that try-to-be-perfect, on-time, with everything done and ready to go person is me…). So I am going to lighten up and dance… even this morning when my dog just tossed up his breakfast on the carpet and I stepped in it. You just gotta dance! My new motto. Onward and upward my friend! Best of luck for the scan today, but you know you really don’t need luck. You got something better- God has got you in this and all things. Love you!!!! Deb
Oh Deb, I love this. I can just imagine stepping in the doggie throw up… I think I’ve done it myself. But you’re right, just dance and smile! Love you dear friend! ❤️
Thank you, sweet Kay! We are so glad to see the happiness return. God bless you and your wonderful family. You are an inspiration to me. Your journey has been tough, but you have come through with flying colors.
Dwight and Jan Oldham.
Thank you Jan so much!!! ❤️
Hi Kay! I loved reading your post today. Thinking when I am enjoying my life, is when I let go of all my worries and fears, Picture myself in Jesus’s arms leaning into His chest and just breathe. Blessings to you and family. Love Kay💞
Sent from my iPhone
I love this Kay! 🙏 thank you!!
Hi, Kay! I’m so happy that you are enjoying life! Simple things or people make me joyous and grateful! The main one is my beautiful, precious granddaughter. I am so happy when she is here with us! I even bake cakes and cookies for her! I had never done that before. I pray that your exams are great! I always look forward to your blog. Blessings to you and your family!
Oh Grace, that is very special! I love that! I can’t wait for that stage when I can do that too! Thank you for your comment and sharing that with me! You are a doll!! ❤️
I like to help be inspired to exercise. This makes me happy because I know how much I detested exercise most of my life and if I had met someone earlier that could inspire me to believe in myself I may have gotten healthier much sooner. Another thing I like to do that makes me happy is to surprise my kids with little things. Seeing them happy fills my heart! I cried when I saw your text about the outcome of your PET scan. Like I couldn’t stop crying! I’m so happy for this miracle Kay. Knowing I will have you to talk to, lean on, laugh with etc for a very long time makes me happier than words can express! Love you sista 🙂
Oh Karin, you and I have a special bond. I know when I see you next week I will likely fall apart. I am so thankful for this news, not only bc I will be here for a long time to be with my family, but bc I will be here to enjoy my time with you, Kathy, mom and dad. I love you too sister! 🥰😘❤️