At the Ritz in West Palm beach

Based on the title of this post, you are probably thinking I’m going to talk about Christina Aguilera’s song “Survivor” in this post.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, although I would encourage you to hum that song while you read.

Seriously.  Hum it.

As some of you may know, I’m struggling with some medical issues.  It’s not something I’ve discussed with many people, nor do I intend to.  Although most of my life is an open book, this is one of the few things I want to keep private, and I appreciate people supporting my wishes.

I’m off work for treatment and although it’s a bit early to tell if it’s working, I am confident it will.

With that said, the point of this post isn’t to talk about me, but to encourage all of you to do a few things .(One of those is obviously to hum Christina Aguilera tunes, but you should already be doing that).

First, I encourage you to know your family health history.  Many medical conditions are either genetic or conditions that run in families.  Because of this it’s important to know the medical histories of your parents, grandparents, etc., if at all possible.

My favorite spa in the world!  The Eau Spa at the Ritz Carlton in West Palm Beach, Florida.  This is my happy place.

My favorite spa in the world! The Eau Spa at the Ritz Carlton in West Palm Beach, Florida. This is my happy place.

Knowing these things can make you more aware of predispositions you may have to things, and ultimately, could save your life.

Second, I encourage you to embrace and appreciate those around you.  Okay, maybe don’t physically embrace them, as the cashier at the checkout might not find your hug quite as endearing as you would like.  You might find your way to an assault charge if you take this advice literally.

Rather, simply appreciate those around you.  Yes, it’s cold and the snow can be a pain, but it’s also beautiful and provides a brightness that is otherwise missing during the winter months.  Yes, work can be difficult but it also provides a paycheck to allow you to live your life.

Not only should you appreciate those little things around you, but appreciate your loved ones as well.  I can say from my recent experiences that my family and close friends have been invaluable to me.  Every now and then stop and take stock of your life and all the amazing people you have in it.

The women's jacuzzi room at the Eau Spa.  The shower changes colors and the lounge chairs are heated stone that contour to your body.

The women’s jacuzzi room at the Eau Spa. The shower changes colors and the lounge chairs are heated stone that contour to your body.

I’ve never been so grateful for my husband as I have been these past few months.  I’ve realized some of the friends I have are the best friends anyone could ever ask for. I’m not sure I would have come to that conclusion until now, and I’m grateful this has made me aware of it.

Although I’m certainly upset with my diagnosis, among other things, it’s shown me  how many amazing people I have in my life.  It’s sad that something had to happen to demonstrate that to me, but I’m glad I’ve had that realization.

I’m hoping to impart that to you.  Don’t wait for something bad to come into your life.  Tell the people who matter how much they mean to you.  They need to know, and you need to realize just how much amazing people can impact your life.

I will get through this time and emerge a stronger woman on the other side.  I’m confident of that, but only because I have such an amazing group of people supporting me.

My father had a brain tumor several years ago.  The doctors weren’t hopeful but operated anyway, as they had nothing to lose.  Fortunately, my father survived and has been cancer-free for 25 years.

I have no idea how my dad fought through that, especially with the added stress of being self-employed and having a wife and children to support.  I also have no idea how my mom made it through that time.  Both of them are stronger than I will ever be.

My feet in one of the reflection pools

My feet in one of the reflection pools

With that said, I know I can do this.  If my parents could get through such a grim diagnosis, I can certainly deal with mine and move forward with my life.  So can you.  So can anyone.

I truly believe the positive attitude they have is part of what led to his successful treatment.  The love and support of others was also a big component as well.

A few years ago, his only sibling was diagnosed with cancer as well.  She also went through successful treatment and is still the amazing woman she was before her diagnosis.

I tell you these stories not only to demonstrate how awesome my family is, but for two reasons.  First, to demonstrate how important knowledge of your family medical history can be.

I'm thankful for the beach.  It's truly where I'm the happiest.

I’m thankful for the beach. It’s truly where I’m the happiest.

Both siblings had a cancer diagnosis, which is certainly telling that it can run in the family.  Sure, this could be a coincidence, but based upon other family history, I suspect it is not.

Second, this story demonstrates the importance of enjoying each moment and cherishing those around you.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and all we can do is live for today.  Enjoy every possible moment with your loved ones.

Enjoy your pets, the taste of a good dinner and the fresh air outside.  Soak in every wonderful moment of life, as you never know what the future could bring.

I’m grateful for my husband.  He’s been the most amazing and understanding person and I couldn’t go through this without him.  I’m thankful for my family, who knows and understands what I’m going through, and is always there to support me.

I’m grateful for my friends.  Although only those closest to me know my struggles, I’m overwhelmed with the support they’ve shown.  My dearest friends show support and love everyday, from going with me for frozen yogurt to just sitting with me when I need that.

lisa at beach

Life really is a beach…especially if you’re on one!

I’m grateful for my dogs, as they have been the best snuggle buddies a girl could ever ask for.  I’m grateful for my employer, who has been nothing short of amazing with me taking time off.

I’m also thankful for each of you.  Knowing you enjoy reading what I write is so rewarding.  There’s nothing better than when someone tells me my writing made their day.  If you’ve ever done that, allow me to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Maybe this random post is just to encourage you to enjoy your life, pay attention to those people and things that matter, and forget the rest.  Life is too short to get caught up in trivial things that don’t matter.  It’s not worth your time or your energy.

I’d like to think that when I pass, my eulogy won’t be about how I was a lawyer, worked hard, and made a good life for myself.  I’d like to think it will be about how I lived my life for every moment and how I saw the humor in situations.

I’m taking that advice now, and will move forward with smiles and laughter.  Fortunately, I have amazing people who will help make that happen.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

Now go download Christina Aguilera.

I'm a survivor

44 Thoughts on “I’m a survivor…some life advice from Lisa Newlin

  1. Matt N. on January 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm said:

    You’re the most amazing woman in the world. I love you!

  2. You’ve got the love and support of so many out in the crazy world and no doubt that helps big time. Sending you lots of love and hugs. And, if you’re allowed, some vodka too. If not, I’ll raise my glass to you tonight. =)
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  3. Great advice! I don’t know that Christina song, but I’ll take your word for it. The rest is SOLID GOLD.
    Your legacy, as far as being a reader of yours, is all about how many times you’ve made me laugh and smile, especially on those days when it was tough to do, and not many other things were working. I always know I’ll find something on your page or your blog that is hilarious. That is a gift to this whole, wide universe. A priceless gift. I never even remember you’re a lawyer, or a real person, just a human laugh factory. That was supposed to be a compliment, btw.
    Hope everything works out well and quickly!

    • This comment means so much to me! I know you’re always so supportive of my blog and it’s something that doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you for letting me know I make you laugh. That makes me feel like my writing is worthwhile. I love knowing that I can make someone’s day a little better, and I’m glad to know that specifically applies to you.

      Thanks for your comment and for always being so supportive of me. I appreciate it very much!

  4. Kerry O'Sullivan on January 17, 2014 at 6:18 pm said:

    Wishing you some happy thoughts! Christina is a badass. Dirty will be one of my workout jams for life. Get well soon!

    • Thank you Kerry! I also want to thank you for reminding me about “Dirty.” I totally forgot about it and will be downloading that song ASAP!!!

      Hopefully I will see you soon where we will “battle” it out…and then get lunch!

  5. Boooya on the great advice, Lisa! It’s so helpful for your PCP to know what your parents or grandparents suffered from, if anything, since so many conditions are passed down from one generation to the next.

    I’m confident in you getting through this because you have a big, vivacious personality and a great support group, starting at home with Matt and the dogs. If I could give you a hug right now I totally would, so give yourself one and say it’s from me! Pat your fannie and say something inappropriate as well…that’s also from me. Lol.

    Take care my blogger friend!
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  6. Krista Schaller Dicks on January 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm said:

    Well said, my beautiful daughter. You have been the inspiration for me many days, and you will never fully know how much I love you. I am also so very grateful for Matt, as he is the only one on earth you loves you as your dad and I do. One day at a time, baby girl. Your Dad wants to remind you of our 2 rules to live by: 1) Don’t sweat the small stuff. 2) EVERYTHING is small stuff.

    • I’m also grateful for Matt! I have no idea how he continues to put up with me and all my ailments. I had no idea how much all of this has affected him until recently when we were talking about it. The pain I saw in his eyes was positively heartbreaking. I will never forget that moment because I realized how much he loves me and how much my daily well-being affects his life.

      These past several months have been hard on me but I’m beginning to see that leaning on those who love me is the best way to get through all of it.

      Thanks for your kind words. I have a hard time expressing myself, especially lately, but I found that writing this post allowed me to do that without having to actually say the words.

      Thanks for your support. I appreciate it and know you’re always behind me. I’m also learning to take dad’s advice. We are looking forward to seeing you next weekend! Love you.

  7. Sending thoughts, prayers, good mojo, virtual bon bons your way, **hey look I tried my best to very PC there** I admire you writing this post, I tried to write a similar post last summer but I could not adequately put my thoughts into words, so it I never published it.

    Another thing I learned was as a result of my own issues, it is totally cool, to ask for help from your buddies. That one was very hard for me since I am bull-headed, self sufficient, and independent…did I mention bull-headed?. This journey will make you stronger, it may be tough….but it will be OK. Life does go on….sometimes differently, but it still happens.

    Hug those close to you and depend on them…

    Be well….my friend.

    • Thanks Tam! I have also learned to lean on my friends. They want to help and it’s nice to have people to support you and take some of that weight off. I didn’t realize how many amazing people are in my life and this situation has made me realize that more than ever.

      Thanks for always being so supportive of me and my blog. I appreciate your loyal dedication so very much. Now go give your baby a kiss and a treat!

  8. Sending hugs and healing thoughts your way. Thank you.
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  9. Yeah, this. I needed to read this. I’m hoping the best for you and your health.
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    • Natalie, I’m so glad this was what you needed to read and that you read it. I think we all need to be reminded to enjoy and appreciate the little things in life. We say it all the time but I think we rarely act upon it. I’m amazed how many things I’m grateful for once I really stop and think about it. From the squirrels bouncing around in the yard to my husband’s laugh to my dogs barking at the mailman, I’ve come to see life so differently.

      Good luck and happy health to you my friend. Now go out and count your blessings! 🙂

  10. What a beautiful post Lisa. I’m sorry you’re going through this yet. You have a great outlook on life. My husband had that same positive and humorous outlook. He wasn’t as lucky and he passed away 8 years ago. However, he had no regrets and lived every day with zest and vigor up until the end. He wanted quality and he got it. He made sure he told everyone he loved them. He made me promise to go on with my life and I have. It is my mission to embrace life and enjoy it until my time comes. I wish you healing and happiness. Oh and more laughter!!
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    • Oh Barb, I had no idea about your husband and that breaks my heart you lost him. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must have been. However, your attitude is amazing, and one I probably wouldn’t be strong enough to have. I share in your mission to enjoy life and embrace it, as you never know when it will change significantly.

      Thanks for your kind words and for sharing such a significant part of your life.

  11. What a great outlook and great advice. My sister-in-law received a breast cancer diagnosis this past fall at just 28. She is now undergoing chemo, and while it is rough, she amazes me daily with her grace. Sounds like you are similar. Wishing you a speedy recovery!
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    • I’m so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law but happy to know she’s doing so well. I don’t think people realize the prevalence of breast cancer in young women. It seems like people seem to think it’s in women over 50, which is why mammograms are encouraged yearly after that point. That’s not the case and people understand it can affect anyone. I also hope the medical profession encourages women of all ages to perform monthly exams. It’s life-changing…literally!

      I hope your sister-in-law gets better quickly. It sounds like she has the right attitude and I wish her well. Thank you for your kind note. I appreciate it very much.

  12. You’re the tops, babe. Love you!

    But seriously… I WILL hug everyone.
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  13. Perfect advice. As I sit here stressing about emails, I’m reminded why I promised to unplug from the world for a week. I hope you are okay! xo
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    • UNPLUG FROM THE WORLD DURING YOUR VACATION! I have learned this lesson in the last few months and I can assure you that the world can wait, but your family can’t. Enjoy each precious moment and be thankful for each laugh from your children and each smile from your husband. I’ve found myself being grateful for the smallest things and not the overriding things. I’m not just thankful for my husband. I’m thankful for the moments before we fall asleep when we giggle like little girls. I’m thankful for the way he brings me a refill of water when he sees it’s low. I’m not sure I would have stopped to take stock of those little things before all of this, but I”m definitely doing that now. It’s life-changing.

  14. Wonderful advice and I hope many people take this lesson to heart. I know that I learned this lesson not too long ago and it’s one I will never take for granted. I know that you’re strong and laughter truly is the best medicine, and since that’s the case, you must be a doctor (not a lawyer), because you prescribe laughter in large doses, my friend. Much love to you! xoxo
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    • Thank you Gina. I’ve been leaning on others to prescribe the laughter for me recently, but I’m hoping to get back to being the doctor soon. Whether a doctor or a lawyer, I definitely like to be the boss and the one in charge!

  15. Good luck to you! A positive attitude can definitely make a huge difference. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers…if you need to chat, I’m around. XOXOXO
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  16. The only thing that pisses me off about this post is that I don’t live in St. Louis. Because I would be on you with fro yo and Oreos and non-convenience store milk like white on rice. Be well, Newlin. Lots of people across the country in your corner. *MWAH*
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  17. Peggy Campbell on January 19, 2014 at 8:44 pm said:

    I am just a reader who loves your posts on all things gnomes, and your wonderful dogs. Your positive attitude, wonderful support from your husband and family and the gift of laughing and making others laugh will be your best medicine. God bless you…I will think of you and take your advice. Family is everything!

  18. Sending you love, hugs and just the right mixture of coconut frozen yogurt mixed with chocolate so perfectly that every single bite makes you say “oh HELL yeah.”
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  19. I wanted to write something profound and deeply touching. Damn ADD brain. Instead I’m sending you a big virtual hug and a promise that you’ll be in my thoughts as you triumph over your diagnosis survivorwoman! 🙂
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  20. An interesting perspective. I love all the gratitude and the inspiration to be thankful and seek the good.

    I struggle a little with the ‘knowing the medical history’ bit. That’s something we didn’t even THINK about doing (because why would we?) and it’s bitten us in the ass. Or at least, not waiting until a complete diagnosis was made has. Or something. Because I’m now in a situation where I think BOTH of us would’ve done things differently if we’d known the extent and impact of Husby’s condition. And yet…and yet…

    So now we’re stuck with it, and wondering whether or not it would have or should have been a dealbreaker, had we but known. BUT we have each other. And that’s awesome. It’s a tough ol’ thing with two sides.

    Regardless, I hope that whatever it is you’re facing is attended to quickly and efficiently, and that the outcomes are what you hope for. Glad you have family and friends around you who are able to support you. That helps HUGE.
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    • Oh my! I’m so sorry you have to deal with that with your husband! Medical issues really are so difficult to deal with.

      It really is crazy how much family medical history can play into your life and can affect diagnosis and treatment. I hope through this post at least one person realizes they need to ask those questions from their loved ones before they’re gone.

      Of course, who would think to do that? Just like you and your husband, it’s not the kind of thing you just randomly ask and discuss. Yet, with the more technology and research out there, it’s imperative we know our family history.

      I hope things go well for you and your husband’s condition. I’m sorry you have to deal with something so difficult but at least you have each other…that’s pretty awesome!

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments. I appreciate it!

      • No kidding. And as with so many things, more manageable one day and not the next. Just one of those things though. No way of avoiding or mitigating it, and life just has to carry on, altered.

        Anything to recommend to young couples that they get their med histories checked BEFORE making any commitment is a smart idea, and I’m all for it. Hope this post goes large for ya, and lots of people read it and are inspired to do this.
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  21. Having been through a lot of “stuff” in my life, I agree 100%…. people need to LIVE, not just wander through life. Appricate the beauty of it all, every small detail. Be strong, stay positive and above all love, no matter what situation your faced with because in the end, we all only get one chance at this amazing thing called life. Grab it with both hands and drink it in.

    • You’re absolutely right! Sometimes we need that kick in the butt to remind us how precious life is. This experience has made me realize we are all human…meaning we aren’t going to be on this earth forever. Of course we know that, but stopping to think about what that means is something entirely different.

      Hopefully through this experience I can remember to cherish each day and each moment and not to lose sight of what’s really important.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope the struggles in your life have gotten better!

  22. We’re all there for you even though we haven’t met and are miles away.

    Might I also suggest that each one of us take charge of our medical history. Keep records of medicines taken, procedures we have dates and time. Don’t relly on docotrs to send you those cards. You take charge!

    And do apprecite the sun in the sky, the green leaves and blue skies. And breath.
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