Lessons From The Chemo Lounge

By Stephen Wissink

During treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I often would jot down notes in a journal my daughter sent me as part of a care package.  Here are some of  the notes I made. They are my keys to living a happy and meaningful life.

1. Life is not a passive verb. Get off your butt and do something that YOU want to do.

2. If you’re drowning in the sea of life, follow the path of the dance band on the Titanic. Just keep playing. A life boat is on its way. If it’s not, at least you’re having a good time.

3. If you love someone, do so unconditionally. Don’t judge, don’t take them on a guilt trip, don’t second guess their motives and always trust them unless they give you cause not to. Remember, your insecurities are yours, not theirs.

4. It is better to understand than to be understood. It’s ok to have the people you cherish try to “understand you,” but don’t hold it against them if you don’t communicate well. It’s not your fault, though, if they don’t try to listen.

5. Smiling at friends and strangers alike is a great way to combat depression. So is laughing inappropriately at the oddest times.

6. The beach and woods are sacred places. Both also are great for certain “recreational activities” of an NC-17 adult nature. But please, be discreet. I don’t want to see your naked ass any more than you want to see mine.

7. Listing three things every day that you are grateful for is empowering.

8. Taking a minute to look at the warmth of afternoon sunlight brings you moments of peace and awe.

9. Every setback is a chance to redefine yourself in the way YOU want. So is every victory.

10. You’ll never have all that you want. It’s better to want what you have, no matter how little it may be.

With that, I’ll leave you today with one simple thought, courtesy of my friend, Chuck Eckstein.

No matter, just keep on breathing.

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