As our Facebook family knows, we at AJ's Wigs work primarily with cancer patients, and sometimes, during consultations, we meet someone who has been told by their doctors the above words in the title. We rely on our doctors to guide us through this journey. We look to them to help us and heal us. When we hear the above words, one cannot help but think... “We can put a man on the moon, but you cannot save my life.”
A few years ago, a beautiful woman in her early 40's walked into AJ's Wigs with her sister. She was bitter, angry and nasty to everyone in the salon. She stated that she wanted to choose a wig so she would look good for her funeral. As we tried on the wigs, she got nastier and more mean. Her sister broke down and through tears, said to her sister, “Please stop, this isn't like you to be this way”. Things built to the point where Bob put the wigs down and strongly said, “Look, we understand, but stop dying and start living, your not dead yet so stop acting like you are”. She got up, went into the bathroom, and came out a few minutes later a new woman. “Stop dying and start living....she said.... Thank you for reminding me that every breath I take is a gift from God.” As she sat down, she said “This is war”. We all knew what she meant. You see? She had let the anger take control as she had only been given 4 months.
A year later, she came in for a second wig. She had gained weight and looked fabulous. You see? She decided to live and not give up the fight. Another 9 months went by and she came in for a third wig,although this time, she had the fight, but we also noticed an increased strength and glow in her. She passed away 4 years after she was given the 4 month death sentence. Her family thanked us for making her fight.. waging personal war on cancer.Its really not about the words, it's how you live each and every day with hope and faith. It is so important even as hard as it is, to stay positive during your journey. The above client is a perfect example. She lived more than 3 years beyond the life sentence because she decided to fight. No, as her sister put it, it wasn't always easy.
I believe, that as a Christian, only God knows when he will call you home, but no matter what your faith is, no doctor can (or should) give you a time of death. He should be giving you the time of LIFE you medically have based upon his experience. Have you ever heard the expression “LAUGHTER IS THE SPICE OF LIFE”?. I asked her sister “What do you think allowed her to live way beyond what her doctor thought? She said...”It all started with you guys. She took Bob's advice and she sought out a nutritionist in the area and she also studied herself at length natural foods and herbs, which would ease the effects of the treatments. She then started doing things for herself. Things that felt good to her. Full body massages, facials, she tried acupuncture and of course, surrounded herself with her family. She laughed a lot, and she made herself a bucket list of 5 fun things she always wanted to do. Making a bucket list allows you to look forward to new goals and to the future.
The power of positive thinking and living is a huge key. Depression, anger, the “why me”s and the giving up on life are the most dangerous ways to shorten one's life. Its okay to be shocked and angry, after all, that is part of processing the news of your diagnosis, but get over it, pick yourself up and start living. I have lived this too many times to count myself.
The whole point of this blog is that none of us know when our time is up. I have known people who eat healthy, don't drink or smoke, and work out several times a week, yet one day, out of the blue, they die of a stroke or heart attack at the age of 35. I have lost friends to car accidents, blood clots that no one knew were there and so forth and so on. I can step out my front door and fall down the stairs . We just don't know,but that's part of the mystery of life. I don't mean to sound preachy, that's not my intent. My intent is to uplift each and everyone of you, that although doctors are highly trained and they can give you an estimate of time you have left; the time you have, and how you live it, is up to you. I can promise all of you, that there is power in living as though you have a life time ahead of you.
One of my best friends is 40 years old. Three years ago he collapsed at work, and after all was said and done, he was told he was end stage Renal failure. Not quite a death sentence these days with dialysis and transplants, but a sentence of uncertainty . He states that for 6 months, he went into a severe depression . He rarely left his bedroom and had thoughts of “ending it sooner”. Until one day, one smart nurse said to him, “Stop dying and start living for Pete sake”. She said, God isn't finished with you yet, so don't give up on him. Eric today is healthy, he is the funniest man you would ever want to know even though his condition is starting to deteriorate. But he refuses to give up hope and faith that his pager will go off any day now
As leaders in the industry, we believe here at AJ's Wigs that if you ever hear the words “You have x amount of months/years to live”, get angry, get mad, but this period should only last a week or two. Here is the rest of our list:
No matter what your faith is, rely on your belief in God (or your higher power)
Rely on your friends and family to uplift you. One warning with this, is that the last thing you need is pity, or that people around you feeling sorry for you. If they can't be a part of your “LIVING”, then they have no room in your life.
Make a bucket list of things you always wanted to do/try. Fun things! Exciting things! Ok, maybe even skydiving
Look back upon your life and remember the good times you have had and learn to laugh at the bad times.
Get your affairs in order. This creates incredible peace of mind knowing that your family will be taken care of once your gone.
Heal old wounds with people who either have wronged you or you have wronged
Make your own decisions and be strong in what you want.
Do the things that feel good to you, whether it is a facial, weekly massage, exercising
Always find hope in all things. When people are seriously ill, we all tend to get caught up in statistics and averages of “how soon will the illness progress”, “what is my quality of life”, etc. Find hope in your tomorrow's, spirituality and family.
Reach out for support. Give yourself permission to reach our for prayer and practical and physical assistance.
Know your body. If you become fatigued, fight back by eating healthy. Respect your body .
Have a “life party” or even a series of them. A BBQ, a remember when party
Educate yourself as much as possible. Knowledge is power don't forget. Know the in's and out's and round about of your disease. Sometimes, even searching out clinical trials can give oneself mental hope.
Always, get a second opinion. Even though you trust your Doctor, always get a second opinion when it comes to your life.
aside from the above list, I do agree with many on the following:
(Excerpt from a Hospice pamphlet)
In closing, there is no book on how to die, but plenty of books on how to live. Everyone's journey home is different, just like everyone's life is different. We at AJ's Wigs live this every day, and we will never stop walking with each and everyone's journey with our clients. We have sat with husbands' who break down and cry, and we cry with them. We have sat down with clients' children and prayed with them. And even though we have been to more funerals then we care to, we have also seen life at it's very best through so many, many success stories otherwise deemed dismal. We have seen families come together and relationships grow even stronger. Live each day to the fullest, live each day as if it were the first day of the rest of your life.