Friday, July 3, 2009

do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life

no matter what kind of cancer you have, death always will cross your mind. i am certainly not scared of dying, but i can't help but think what my legacy would be. it doesn't help that i have all the time in the world to sit and think on chemo weeks. but, it's good for me. it causes me to reflect on the kind of wife/friend/relative that i am and the one i strive to be. i want to make a lasting impression when i'm gone. this isn't me getting all morbid either, i know i'm not dying for a looooong time. i just realized that it's not enough for me to just be yet another person on this earth who lives for their own selfish gain. i want to make a difference. if i just get married, work, have kids, and die when i'm 90, i won't have lived up to my potential. yes, i can make a difference in my everyday life, but that's not enough...not for me. Colleen Wolak is a perfect example of this. so is Kristin Hodulick. both of their lives have been impacted by friends and relatives who have/had cancer. they are constantly doing fundraisers and running marathons to raise tens of thousands of dollars to help those who are suffering. i certainly don't think that's for everyone, but it's their thing and they make a difference...and it's inspiring.

so, i'm gonna get on a soap box for a second and say that the "woe is me" attitude is just plain sickening. no where is it written that life is it fair that i got cancer? sure, it is. why should cancer discriminate? cuz i'm young? please! it's way better to get cancer when you're young. It's easier to fight and it changes your entire outlook on life. plus, look at all the experiences we've been accumulating. joey and i went to Charleston, Savannah, Isle of Palms...and before that trip, we even went to the ballet at the Kennedy center (big one for joey). i am trying new okra instead of french fries and a whole grouper with the bones still in it. we took carriage rides around the town, listened to locals sing and dance down on the pier...and of course i got it on video:

okay, rant over. back to cancer update for a moment. i've been having some issues with my breathing so they took me off the "B" of my ABVD treatment. "B" is the bleomycin that can cause lung hardening. i had a second pulmonary function test which showed a decrease in my DLCO, which is the ability to take oxygen and exchange it for carbon dioxide. so, the bleo is being left out. i have lots of marathons to run when this cancer crap is, better safe, than sorry. my red blood count has also been slowly and steadily declining, which just means that i'm slowly becoming anemic.....which really just means i'm getting more and more tired. i can deal with tired as long as i get my 2 mile run in first and if i can't run, then i'll walk, and if i can't walk, i just watch Fit TV and kill calories by osmosis.

my doctor told joey and i that i need to be in remission for 2 years before we can try to have babies. i originally shrugged that off until my nurse, theresa, agreed with him. she said that i probably don't want a baby with three heads. but maybe i would be like having triplets but with only one college tuition. okay, so maybe i'm using humor to mask the fact that i don't wanna wait two years. but since when is any of this about what i want? so, i'm changing my mindset. what can i accomplish in the next two years or so? well, for starters, i am starting a business with my friend Lindsey who has been there since the beginning. we are going to empower and inspire cancer patients and their friends and families with our "kill cancer" gear. we are taking a proactive approach. no whining about how cancer sucks...we are just gonna help kill it. so, check out our website: Lindsey also started giving me my injections lately which i think she enjoys waaay too much.

will running marathons for charity be my legacy? will my company? who knows. i do know, however, that i have the ability to choose my attitude and outlook and that leaves a lasting impression. the following is an email that i received from my nurse, theresa, who just so happens to go to our church...

" I had to say goodbye to a beloved patient. I hate that part. I will see his obit soon. Rachel- one day I will see you as a cancer free girl and I am grateful, joyful and praising Jesus for that. One day we will see each other at the clinic for hello's and not chemo. I will see you at church being a cancer free momma in waiting. That is really cool. I write this because I started reading Lion Chaser and I am inspired to love you cancer people more! I am blessed to meet some awesome people and I count you and Joe among the really cool.

...thanks for the gifts, tee shirts, coffee (medicinal syrup), hand soap, smiles, laugh, blog, looking forward to seeing you moments. Thanks, you are too good to me and I appreciated it. Thanks for being Rachel the Lion Chaser and inviting me to join in your kill cancer journey!"

if only they didn't weigh you, poison you, and harpoon you with huge needles at the cancer center, i would thoroughly enjoy going to visit my nurses. "kissen" and theresa always make me laugh and getting an email like that one just makes my day. every action of every day makes a difference. i am going to live my life with no regrets and certainly no self-pity. everyday uncovers yet another redeeming aspect of cancer. if only everyone could be so lucky.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. rachel,
    what an inspiring post! i wholeheartedly agree that the "woe is me!!" attitude is very unhelpful and frankly quite annoying. and you make me almost glad i got cancer young :D excited to hear about your marathons when you start tackling those! xx

  2. hey rachel this is maria
    i read pretty much ur whole blog and and its awesome! u have been such an inspiration! U will have children i promise u that! If not u can one of my 3 but i also promise u will say Maria please come get ur kid lol lol I love ur Funnyness on ur blogg i mean I had a few laughs reading it all! Im also am glad that i found my cancer so young thank you for making me realize that. I along with u will be living to see my great grandchildren. I will continue on reading ur blog and soon will be starting my own blog.
    thank you so much for your strong words
    Besitos y Abrazos

  3. I love your spirit, your spunk and your fight, your attitude.. the way you are so real ! Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us like this. Continuing to pray for you. I ask your Mom about you often.. ( and then decided to check the blog and want to buy something now from your kill cancer line! :)
    It was great to see you at Seth's baseball game a few weeks ago!
    Keep looking to our Lord for your strength and joy. :)

  4. Greetings Rachel,
    I got the link to your blog from an alleged friend of yours who posts to "the Warpath", a Washington Redskins board.
    I think it is interesting how the Lord puts the right things in your life at the right time. I have been feeling sorry for myself as I have some challenges at this time. I read your stuff, and I say thankyou to you. I needed some inspriation and you provided it.
    Good luck to in all things, and I will think of you and Joey and get an update from time to time. ARE a difference maker. It's like being crazy.....your always the last to know

  5. Keep up the good fight, Rachel and Joe! We are praying for you daily. It was so good to see your Mom, Dad, Jesse and Seth this July!! Now you know Alex married you guys for a long and prosperous and fruitful LIFE so keep your chin up and feel those prayers healing you. Love your posts and blogs. Blessings on your business too! You are in Good Hands.
    We send our love. Janet and Alex

  6. Hello Rachel,
    I've read parts of your blog and although I agree that for some, and apparently you are one of those, the "woe is me" attitude isn't helpful, you should be careful when judging how people react to cancer. It's incredibly difficult to always put up a brave front and if you are never discouraged by bad news, and are 'happy' that you got cancer because it makes you appreciate life more, good for you. I, for one, was already living my dream and travelling and eating 'exotic' food before cancer came along, and reallly didn't need it to see how lucky I was to be alive... I think cancer, chemo, pain and not being able to have children ALL SUCK and I wish I was allowed to say so once in a while. I understand I'll survive, but in the meantime, I'd rather not depend on my boyfriend for money, care and household chores. So please, be careful. What applies to you does not apply to everybody else. Please see
    Best, Sylvia Roberge

  7. Sylvia-

    I am sorry that you took offense to my blog. That certainly is not the intention. The "woe is me" attitude was meant towards healthy people who complain about the little things in life and for sick people who don't take time to think of the terminal patients. I believe that we should always be grateful, because it could always be worse.

    I would never judge how people react to cancer. In fact, I make it my perogative not to judge others in the least. It is not my place to do so. There are far many more people who have is so much worse than I do and I am thankful for where I am.

    I for one, am not "putting up a brave front." My faith has shown me that I am to rejoice in my sufferings, because it produces perseverence, character, and hope. Does cancer suck? Of course it does. There have been plenty of times that I have broken down and cried because I'm tired...I'm tired of feeling sick, nauseated, in pain, and exhausted. But, to me it doesn't take me voicing that to make a difference in the cancer community. I want to eliminate the negativity from my vocabulary.

    My life before cancer was wonderful. Joey and I have traveled all over and thoroughly enjoyed our lives. We always strived to do good and be a good example and get involved in helping others. However, I would've never thought to get involved in the cancer community had I not gotten cancer. For that, I am thankful.

    You may not want to depend on your boyfriend for anything, but he may need that from you. It is very difficult for the parents or spouse or friends to sit by and feel helpless. It is good for them to feel needed. Sometimes, we need to let go of our pride if it's in the best interest of husband specifically voiced this.

    I am not saying that you can't say that chemo sucks and that you can't be real. I know that what applies to me does not to everyone else. That is why my blog is titled "The Lion Chaser's Guide to Killing Cancer." I am a Lion Chaser, not a cancer patient. I will always be a positive person, whether I die tomorrow or in 60 years.

    I would love to send you a copy of the book if you are interested. You can email your address to me privately if you would like.

    -Rachel Morrison

  8. I am a friend of Lisa Porter (I guess you guys went to school together.) She shared your blog with me. Thank you for sharing your words and thoughts. It was such a good reminder to live life with meaning and purpose.
    If you ever get down to South Florida on your summer tour, you are always welcome to the Florida Keys. =)

  9. Hey High Flyer!
    It's your cancer buddy Brian here. Your blog rocks. You have such an easy to read, intriguing style in your writing. Very honest, yet somehow not at all offensive. You'll have to teach me that. If you get this, look me up and add me on facebook. Search Brian Boo Wallace, and I'll probably be the only one. I tried to look for you already, but there were over 300 Rachel Morrisons, and even more Joe's!!! : )

  10. Rachel you are such an inspiration. I was sent your blog from my friend Trish who is a good friend of your sister Brooke. I read your whole journal.. What an amazing women you are. My son was dx with cancer at the age of 6. Continue with the positive attitude..God Bless you..You can read about Steven at

    Denise mom to her hero Steven

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