Tuesday, October 26, 2004
"When we are not paying attention to our lives, we are merely reacting to the tasks required of us."
I saw this quote on another blog and it really spoke to me today. Living with cancer is such a balancing act of both paying attention to our lives and what is important to us, while reacting to the tasks required of us. This weekend proved to exemplify this like none other.

This journey is amazing and the clarity it provides helps focus the details of one’s life. Decisions are easier to make, values are sharpened to a razor fine point, and true joy is found in unexpected places. Though it begs the question, “Why does it take something as dramatic as cancer to experience this?” I believe it forces us to pay attention to our lives and pay attention to living – not getting, gathering, achieving, or winning. It puts who we are front and center and it makes weeding out the nonessential and frivolous all too easy. This is the blessing of the journey.

Ah but there is a time and place for everything. During treatment, we spend time reacting to the tasks required of us: the pain, discomfort, aches, side-effects, medications, and the basic needs. It seems I have learned lessons in both living and reacting this weekend. On Sunday I had a bad reaction to the pain medication that helps me get through the chemo side-effects. Not only did this mean I had to react to that situation, but I was also without a pain remedy. The only way to get through it was to watch the clock knowing this too would pass.

Somehow, reacting to this situation, made me appreciate the living so much more. It is as if chemo makes you descend a little further into hell each time before being lifted out by God’s saving grace. While it is a sample of hell with its agony and distress, it does make life a little sweeter for having this experience, makes me appreciate the goodness that surrounds me, and helps me to recognize that each day is truly a gift.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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