Living with Less

Written by Treehugger founder Graham Hill, a recent opinion piece published in The New York Times illustrates a simple principle: keep your space small, and your life big.

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Life, Interrupted: Putting a Positive Spin on Cancer

New York Times blogger Suleika Jaouad, who underwent a bone marrow transplant earlier this year, weighs the positive and negative aspects of fighting cancer in one of her most straightforward and honest posts to date.

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"Cancer May Leave Your Body, But It Never Leaves Your Life"

New York Times blogger Suleika Jaouad writes about the internal conflict she’s had with the word, “survivor.” She’s adept at pointing out that her journey is very personal, and may not apply to others’ experiences with cancer. And while she navigates through some sobering feelings, she also shares how thankful she’s been for the past year: “For the first time since my diagnosis, I felt a sense of elation and accomplishment as I reflected on all that I had survived in the past year—all that we, as a community, had made it through. Today, it’s been 92 days since my transplant. While my doctors say that my recovery from the transplant is going as well as can be, the threat of relapse is never far from my mind…I’m still anxious about calling myself a “survivor,” but I’m unbelievably grateful to have survived my transplant. I’m still here. And that means I can continue to figure out what surviving means to me.”

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What Compels Us to Travel?

This blog rings so true for me right now. Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison write about how traveling deepens our understanding of the world, as they claim that “our wandering is meant to lead back toward ourselves. This is the paradox: we set out on adventures to gain deeper access to ourselves; we travel to transcend our own limitations. Travel should be an art through which our restlessness finds expression. We must bring back the idea of travel as a search.”

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The belief that cancer happens for a reason can be an attractive line of thinking—where there’s an effect, there must be a cause. This is what a logical mind tells us, but it’s usually untrue. Even when a patient is found to have lung cancer after decades of smoking, is cancer still the patient’s ‘fault?’ Even if there is a correlation to the choices a person makes in life, cancer is always deeply unfair.
Suleika Jaouad, Life, Interrupted: Feeling Guilty about Cancer
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The Woman Who Fought for the Right to Choose Her Cancer Treatment

Today, the New York Times celebrates a pioneer patient who challenged the traditional treatment for breast cancer. Babette Rosmond was a New York City writer and editor who went public with her diagnosis of breast cancer 40 years ago. Rosmond rebelled against the standard one-step radical mastectomy that most doctors performed during that time and demanded a choice in her treatment options. Kudos to Rosmond for being such a fighter. Read more of her little-known story of incredible bravery and strength in the link above.

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Life, Interrupted: Finding My Cancer Style

One of the things I look forward to is reading Suleika Jaouad’s very honest and beautifully-written blog in the New York Times every week. This week, she talks about losing her hair, and eventually finding a style all her own while in the fight of her life.

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Life, Interrupted: Keeping Cancer at Bay

Suleika Jaouad’s New York Times blog, Life, Interrupted chronicles her journey with cancer. She is 50 days outside of her bone marrow transplant, and so far things look good. This week, she details the emotional stress of having to constantly undergo tests for months—and perhaps years—until there is no evidence of disease. As always, she writes with great strength and clarity, which is no surprise, because she’s a pretty amazing woman. Read more in the link above.

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A Richer Life by Seeing the Glass Half Full

Jane Brody writes about how a positive outlook has personally helped her hold onto the belief that good things will happen, and negative events are just temporary setbacks. For example, Brody says, “I was 16 when my mother died of cancer. [But] rather than dwell on the terrible void her death left in my life, I managed to gain value from the experience. I learned to apply her lifelong frugality more constructively, living each day as if it could be my last, but with a focus on the future in case it wasn’t.” Sometimes seeing the good in life is hard, but this article puts an interesting spin on navigating things that are beyond one’s control. Read more in the link above.

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Life, Interrupted: Hope is My New Address

After a bone marrow transplant, Suleika Jaouad is making good progress in her cancer treatment for AML. Follow her inspiring and incredibly profound story by clicking the link above, or by visiting The New York Times “Well” web site every Thursday for her blog.

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Lisa's reflections on summitting Kilimanjaro and raising over $10,000 for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG.