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"Pay No Attention to the Expiration Date....."

Lauren Blanchard

LIVING with Cancer while being told you may die from it and/or it's treatment can very easily and often does rob us of our TODAY, making it difficult to enjoy LIFE.  Stupid cancer, shame on you.  Sometimes it takes one person to say just the right words to make us see things in a whole new perspective.  Sometimes that one person has no idea that they are even making a difference in your life while they are fighting their own battle. 

I was inspired to write this blog for a couple of reasons.  The first was this morning as I was having my coffee and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and checking out how everyone's Summer was going, I read a post written by a cancer battling friend, Tiffany, that made me both cry and say "you go girl!" at the same time. The second is for my own fear of the unknown due to some of my own recent bumps in the road.  Having cancer, unfortunately, brings so many thoughts and fears to the forefront of our minds that we just don't want think about but end up being forced to.  The fear of not having a tomorrow....

Tiffany's Facebook post was about having to apply for Social Security Disability because her cancer was Stage 4 and considered "terminal". The part of the post that really got to me was when she said  "I know what the doctors are telling me but I refuse to let someone put an expiration date on me.".  To me, this was an incredibly powerful statement and something I had never really thought about.  We are not like a carton of milk and if we were, even milk can last well past it's projected "expiration date". Then I thought,  we all need to think like Tiffany.  She has more faith, courage and strength than just about anyone I know and tries hard not to let STUPID cancer steal the joy from any of her TODAYS!!  You know what i have to say about that, YOU GO GIRL!! 

I have lived with chronic blood cancer for 6 1/2 and have been on oral chemo since diagnosis.  While it keeps me alive and free of having another stroke, or any other type of clot, it also comes with side effects.  The past couple of months I have had progressive upper extremity weakness and difficulty swallowing.  I have been through extensive testing with no definitive diagnosis as of yet.  First course of action was to hold the chemo for 3 weeks to see if that was the culprit (because, well, as much as it helps me it also can harm me).  Next will be a muscle biopsy.  Not going to lie,  the scariest part of this ordeal has been the mention of ALS as one of the possibilities.  It is always in the back of the mind because it is a diagnosis of exclusion and many things have been ruled out.  That expiration date fear creeps into my mind.  I've gotCUREage and I've got faith.  Lots and lots of faith. 

Again, back to that "expiration date".  We ALL have one.  We cannot spend our days waiting for it,  worrying about when it will happen, dodging it, or trying to avoid any of it's uncomfortable truths because it will rob us of the joy in our TODAY.  So, Tiffany, I thank you for showing me how to be stronger, how to have more courage, and how to enjoy TODAY.  

Today was a good day.  And I will make sure that tomorrow is too.

If you would like to donate to Tiffany's gofundme page please follow the link below. Myself and her family are grateful for your help.



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