Last weekend I attended a memorial service for a friend from support group. She was the first person within my face-to-face circle of friends to die of breast cancer. I find myself wondering, if you die of complications related to the treatment of breast cancer, is it still considered dying of the cancer? Anyways, that aside isn’t relevant to this point of this post.
The over arching message from her celebration of life was that she “lived life on her own terms“. I learned more about her from the service. Our lives were similar in so many ways. I wish I had chance to get to know her better. Our last exchange was a Facebook chat where she said to me, sorry cannot make it but please keep inviting. She died very quickly after her metastatic diagnosis. An aside for those that don’t know, breast cancer doesn’t kill you when it is in your breasts. It kills when it spreads to your bones, liver, lungs, and/or brain. When it spreads to other parts of your body it is called metastatic breast cancer. Some people with metastatic breast cancer live several years after diagnosis. They live in constant treatment jumping from one regime to the next as the disease adapts to each treatment. Life becomes about staying one step ahead of the disease.
I find myself replaying the phrase in my head “live life on your own terms“. I’m not exactly certain what that means, but it seems to help me whenever I doubt myself. Whenever I find myself feeling a bout of impostor syndrome, questioning if I belong someplace or if my contributions matter in the world. Then I think, does it matter if others value what I do as long as I am enjoying what I do? As long at it matters to me? As long as I’m “living life on my own terms” … it is certainly something that I hope people say about me at my celebration of life … “she lived life on her own terms” … that is something worth celebrating.