Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13

This past week, I received notice that the website for the upcoming LDS Phoenix/Mesa Singles Conference was up and running. This morning, I got the email with the schedule of the speakers.

It is official. It is in print. It is online. ... And now I feel like I can publicly talk about this thing that I have been SO EXCITED about for the last several weeks.

Back in August, I got a phone call from my good friend, Charla, who is on the committee behind the workshops for the conference, asking me if I would be willing to do at least one - with the possibility of more - workshops for the singles conference. Because I have a personality disorder that renders me a fool who actually enjoys (read: loves) public speaking, I jumped at the chance to both help her fill some speaking gaps and tell a small portion of the world my story. (Who loves a captive audience? This girl!)

The theme for the conference is: An Abundant Life, taken from John 10:10: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

The workshop theme is paraphrased from a talk given by Pres Thomas S. Monson:

"Just as we learned the ABC's in school, I offer my own ABC's to help us all gain the abundant life:

A is for having a positive ATTITUDE
B is for BELIEVE in yourself
C is for facing challenges with COURAGE"

I was asked to speak specifically in the capacity of Cancer Girl, to share experiences that I have had in living with - and through - the cancer. I was asked to provide a professional bio and a workshop summary (which was tricky, as I ... uh ... thought it might a little too smart-alecky to use the words "I am a professional cancer survivor" in a bio - oh, and I hadn't written my talk yet ... still haven't, btw).

Charla named the course: "Candid Quips from Cancer Girl: Facing obstacles with humor, candor, and love."

My somehow-brief-and-at-the-same-time-very-wordy bio:

I've been fighting cancer off and on for over two years now. While it has been hard, at times, to declare a true winner in the war of Me v. Cancer, I am currently ahead with a full three months of being tumor-free. I love butter, bacon, good chocolate and tall men.

Synopsis of my presentation:

One of the - very few and far between - gifts of cancer is that is has shown me who and what is of most importance in my life: friends, family, the gospel, humor (when you can't beat something, you need to be able to laugh in its face!) and love. I am so grateful for the clarity that being sick has given me, for my faith, for my support system, for my life.

To see the conference info, click here. (If you want to check out my own personal page, go to Workshop Speakers and click on my pretty little face and it will expand. You'll notice that Charla beefed up my not-so-professional bio and mentioned my everlasting love for both my people and my hometown. She's awesome like that.)

I am so far beyond thrilled at the opportunity to share some of my experiences - from diagnosis to surgery to the miracle of the fundraisers, etc. - with a group of singles from my church, that I can't even begin to explain how I feel. Being asked to speak, and specifically about this thing that has changed me and has brought a deeper awareness and gratitude for all that is good in my life, is both humbling and exciting for me.

I'm torn between having ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what I'll say and knowing that I could talk for HOURS about the exceedingly low lows and high highs that the last two years have brought.

At the end of the day, I am grateful. Grateful for this opportunity to speak in such a forum. Grateful for my life. (Literally. Grateful for my life.) Grateful for all of the people in it, whether they live around the corner, over a state line, across the country, or on another continent. I lead a charmed life - well, except for the cancer thing - and I'm so looking forward to having an opportunity to share even a little bit of that gratitude with a live audience.

It's less than a week away. It's public information. It is print, and it is online. ... I am officially giddy.

As always, a big thank you goes out to my readers - the original 13, and all the new kids on the block, too - for putting up with my parenthetical comments, my run-on (and fragmented) sentences and the general loony-bird style in which I write. Thank you for having an interest in my well-being, in my life.

I have always maintained that I write for myself. It is cathartic. It helps me process. ... Oh, and I love having an outlet that is sometimes sarcastic, sometimes sappy and sometimes downright silly. ... But you, my dear readers, have not only read what I have written, but you  have also shared my stories with your friends - some of whom are now my friends, too. Because I have written what I felt/thought/ate/drank etc., over the past several months, my four tumors and I have had exposure that we would not have had otherwise; and that exposure has put me on the radar of countless more people than I ever would have thought would have an interest in the details of my life.

I started this blog for fun, on a whim, several years ago at the insistence of some girlfriends. It has turned into a lifeline, and has brought more blessings - and more people, and more love - into my life than I ever could have imagined it would. (And, as you well know, I have one heck of an imagination. So, that's saying something.)

I am, as always, so grateful for the ways in which the www has brought me closer to the people that I love, and I am so looking forward to seeing how this opportunity to speak at this conference, with this subject matter, will continue to change things in my life. (Fingers crossed that there'll be at least one tall, single, bacon-loving gentleman in the audience who'll have reeeeeeally good medical benefits and a burning desire to take care of a cancer patient for the rest of her life. ... A girl can always hope, right?)