Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Dream Come True

For the longest time I had wanted to go on a Mediterranean Cruise and now I finally did it! For eight days, I cruised on the Jade Norwegian cruise ship and hit these ports: Barcelona, Spain; Monaco, Cannes and St. Paul, France; Florence and Pisa, Italy; Rome, Naples, Pompei, Sorrento and Capri Italy. Our final port was Palma, Mallorca, Spain. My favorite place was Capri, and there was a moment when I was tempted to just stay there and let the ship leave me behind. If I had my luggage with me, I might still be there!

Not only were the ports fabulous, the people we met on the ship were inspirational. Like myself, there were some who had battled cancer and were taking the trip to celebrate their victory over the disease.

I will never forget a couple from Los Angeles, Michelle and Jim. I knew Michelle had cancer because of her peach fuzz hair. Sure enough, she had just finished chemo last March. Her husband, Jim, is blind, and it was so touching to watch Michelle describe the beautiful Italian scenery to her husband. He said he was enjoying the experience just like everyone else, through the smells, the sounds and the taste of the wonderful food and wine in each country.

Then there was this family of five from Long Island. The husband looked like Kevin Costner and the wife looked like Michelle Phieffer. They have four children: two boys and two girls ranging in age from 17 years old to 7 years old. They have a beautiful blonde,nine year-old girl, who looks like a Barbie doll, but they also have a son with autism. Their teenage daughter always pitched in to help with her younger siblings. And it just so happens the mother has a club leg, but her limp didn't take away from the fact that she was a knock-out.

The people I met on the Norwegian Jade were as much a part of the experience as the beautiful sights. What I realized more than ever is that everyone has some kind of handicap. It's not what life hands you--it's how you HANDLE what life hands you that makes the difference between joy and misery. And you should NEVER let misfortune stop you from realizing your dreams.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Bucket List

I watched Elizabeth Edwards on Larry King Live recently, and when Larry asked Elizabeth what advise she would give to other terminally ill victims of cancer, she replied simply: Live each day to the fullest.

Good advise--I get it completely. It's been two years since my cancer diagnosis. Elizabeth Edward's tumor in her breast was the size of half dollar. My tumor was the size of a baseball. Her cancer came back. So far I'm fine, but I'm keenly aware that could change any time.

So I made a list of the things I want to do before I die. Here it is:

See Sting in Concert--Check! Did it!
Go on a Mediterranean Cruise--Leaving this Friday
See Madonna in Concert
See the Pyramids in Egypt
Write a Book

I hope to check off the rest of these things within two years. And after that, I have an even more grandiose list. But for right now, I'll just try to check off this list.

When you realize time is a precious commodity, the saying, "seize the day"--which sounds better in Latin--Carpe Diem--takes on a whole new meaning.