“3 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong” ~ Excerpt From Marc & Angel Hack Life

The following post is from an email I received from Marc and Angel angelc@marcandangel.com. https://www.facebook.com/marcandangelhacklife/

“Today, I’m sitting in my hospital bed waiting to have both my breasts removed. But in a strange way I feel like the lucky one. Up until now I have had no health problems. I’m a 69-year-old woman in the last room at the end of the hall before the pediatric division of the hospital begins. Over the past few hours I have watched dozens of cancer patients being wheeled by in wheelchairs and rolling beds. None of these patients could be a day older than 17.”

That’s an entry from my grandmother’s journal, dated 9/16/1977. I photocopied it and pinned it to my bulletin board about a decade ago. It’s still there today, and it continues to remind me that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. And that no matter how good or bad I have it, I must wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them. Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles. Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost. Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.

1. Pain is part of growing.

Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to. When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

2. Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it. So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way. Otherwise, there’s no point in starting. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar. It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers. It could mean lots of time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible. It gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine. You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path. And it’s worth it. So if you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE.

3. The best thing you can do is to keep going.

Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing.

Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

– Think positively.
– Eat healthy.
– Exercise today.
– Worry less.
– Work hard.
– Laugh often.
– Sleep well.

Be well,


Chapter #3 “Bloody Blobs” ~ From My Book “Rectal Cancer My Ass”

My liver surgery was a couple days later and I was sent home two days after that; only to return to the ER in less than a week. The original plan was to wait two weeks before starting radiation therapy so my body could heal. The tumor had other plans…

I was sitting on the toilet thinking I was having a bowel movement but when I looked, there were several bloody “blobs” the size of soft boiled eggs floating in the water. I knew this was bad and the tumor in my rectum was probably hemorrhaging! Luckily Hubby was home with me. We called my son, Jim who had just left to come back home quickly. I needed to get to the ER.

Hubby lined the front seat of the car with a large disposable pad and it was a good thing he did because it didn’t take long before the blood seeped through my clothes on to the pad. Jim was driving and Hubby was in the backseat. Jim looked over at me when we stopped at the stoplight and saw the blood soaked pad.

He shrieked, “Mom! I have to run this light. You’re bleeding too fast!”

The last thing we needed was to be in a car wreck, so I calmly told him, “Take a breath. Slow down. We’re only a few blocks away and if we get in accident, it will only take longer to get there.” But inside I was getting nervous about the amount of blood coming out of me too.

Luckily, he listened to me and didn’t run the red light, but when it turned green; he drove the rest of the way like a “mad man.” I don’t know if I was more nervous from the bleeding or his crazy driving! When we made it to the ambulance entrance, Jim ran inside and quickly came back with a nurse who showed up with a wheelchair. I was taken inside to a trauma room where a nurse came to take my vitals. As I lay on an exam table I watched the nurse move around the room, talking to me calmly. I immediately relaxed and thought, “If she isn’t worried about the amount of blood coming out of me, then neither will I. She sees this kind of thing all the time.”

The nurse inserted a catheter into my urethra because, according to her, I was being admitted for another hospital stay. (Crap! Not again.) I was also not allowed to get off the table, so in case I eventually had to pee, I could do so using the catheter. Next she placed a large plastic pan under my butt to catch the clots of blood that were now popping out at a steady rate.

Hubby was standing by my side when I felt the “presence” of my dad and my friend, Emily, both of whom had died years earlier. I never actually saw either of them, but I just “knew” they were there. I looked at Hubby and said, “Emily and my dad are here. So don’t worry. Everything is going to be alright.” Right after I said that, they were gone. Or maybe they were never there. My mind could have been playing tricks on me. Either way, I felt better about what was going on.

Hubby stared at me for a minute and then spoke to Jim who was standing a few feet away, talking on his cell phone. “Hey, I think your mom’s having some kind of spiritual experience or something. She says Emily and your grandpa are here.”

Jim looked scared. He probably thought my “vision” was some sort of sign I was dying, but I knew I wasn’t. I reassured both of them that I was okay.

My sense of calm changed quickly when an intern showed up to start an IV on me. For some reason, she wanted the needle to go on the inside of my wrist. After poking me four times, claiming my vein kept “moving around,” she announced she would make an incision. That’s when I said, “Over my dead body! Find someone who knows what they’re doing and don’t use that spot. It hurts too much!” My yelling must have worked because a new nurse showed up and the IV was inserted in a less painful spot.

A few hours later I was back in a hospital room, getting a couple more pints of blood, waiting to hear what “adventures” awaited me this time.

My colorectal surgeon, Dr. C. showed up a few hours later, and decided the best way to stop the bleeding was to cauterize the inside of my anus. He said it would be a simple procedure. When he was done, my ass felt like he had taken a blow torch, shoved it up my ass and fried that sucker until it stopped bleeding. Simple procedure, my ass! For him, maybe. For me, it hurt like holy hell for days. Even a fart felt like a hot poker.

Be well,

“The “C” Word” ~ Chapter #2 From My Book “Rectal Cancer My Ass”

Over the next week I was given four pints of blood and went through a battery of tests. I was staying at a teaching hospital which means, every day a group of resident doctors showed up in my hospital room taking notes, and asking to look at my caboose. Whatever modesty I had before my hospital stay was gone by the time I left.

A colonoscopy revealed I had rectal cancer. After the test was done, a nurse presented me with a Polaroid picture of my colon. (Who the hell wants a pictures of that? I should have kept it though and made copies and sent them out as next years Christmas cards). The cancer looked to me like dryer lint, grey and fuzzy. A few hours later an MRI showed the cancer had spread to my liver. I didn’t just have rectal cancer; I had STAGE FOUR rectal cancer!

Shit! I was pissed!

My son and my hubby were devastated by the news, but I refused to get upset. I was determined to survive, so I spent my time marching around the halls of the hospital, wearing my Ugg boots and a hospital gown, waiting to hear what kind of plan my medical team came up with. I told my family and doctors to never say the word “cancer” around me, but they could call it the “c” word. Maybe I had cancer, but I wouldn’t let it define me. The blood transfusions gave me energy and I didn’t feel sick anymore, except for that persistent diarrhea. I joked with the nurses and tried to watch television to pass the time; waiting for my doctors to come up with a plan to kill the cancer growing inside me.

One night a nurse came in to see me. She wanted to know if I was alright.

“Sure I’m fine.” I said.
“Can I ask you a personal question?” She asked.

I nodded.

“How can you be so positive after getting such devastating news? Patients usually fall apart and can’t stop crying. We have to give them medication to calm down, but you seem happy.”

I thought about it for a minute. I figured she thought I was in denial and maybe “psychologically” speaking I was, but in my mind I refused to believe that this cancer was going to kill me.

I said, “I’m only 56 years old and I’m not ready to die. I will do everything I can to stay alive and having a positive attitude will only help. Besides, I was never much of a ‘crier.’ I’ll get mad before I start crying and if you do see me crying, it’s because I am really mad!”

A few days later my medical team (I called them my Dream Team) came back to my hospital room with a plan; they would resection my liver, and then give me chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumors, so eventually my colon could be removed. In its place would be a permanent colostomy bag.

Now that’s a plan I could live with.

Be well!