My Christmas Wish List. May Love & Cancer Cures Be Under My Tree
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December 24, 2014

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Dear Santa,

I know my children have bamboozled you with their wants. But so far, I've been silent. I've been a very good girl this past year. I've worked hard, survived a lot, and have tried to be really nice to everyone around me. What I want most is for the world to be a better place. That seems like a broad request, but I've narrowed it down to just eight things I want, most of them not costing a thing.

1. A cure for cancer

Cancer kills and destroys everything in its path, except the spirit of us resilient survivors. I ask that the medical community continues making progress towards finding better treatments and cures. And I pray even harder that cancer warriors participate in clinical trials, because that's the only way progress is ever made.

2. Early cancer screenings to increase

When it comes to cancer, early detection is key. It gives us our best odds of beating it and surviving. As such, this past year, I've had full on cancer screenings and I want others to do the same. I lead by example and this year, I got...

-A mammogram. It's an easy exam and painless. If one is over 40 or has a history of breast cancer, she should talk to her doctor but I highly recommend getting one.

-A pap smear and exam

-A colonoscopy. I'm not yet 50 and I don't have a family history of colon cancer, but since I beat the odds by getting multiple myeloma, I figured that I can't be too cautious. Plus my friend, Mandy, died of colon cancer just six months ago at the age of 44. Her advice was to get a colonoscopy. So I did. I gotta say, it was easy-peasy. The worst part was the prep-- 24 hours of swallowing laxatives and drinking icky stuff. For the exam itself, they give me a little IV cocktail, I took a nap, and when I woke, it was over. Painless.

-A skin cancer screening. Every inch of my body was examined for any worrisome signs.

-A complete blood work panel to review for any signs of trouble.

So far, all clear! I want everyone to heed my advice to get cancer screenings, age appropriate, and be aware of changes to her body.

3. Fathers to be good fathers

It literally brings me to tears when I hear stories of men who've walked away from their kids when a marriage has ended. I have no idea how anyone can do this but it happens every day. My friend, Mary, is divorced. Post divorce, their youngest son died. Her ex-husband didn't attend the funeral. Their older son is gay and the father has disowned him. A box of Christmas gifts arrives each year for their daughter and none for the gay son. In my own life, I watch the pain my children are in as their father has decided to vanish from their lives. I know he cheers for joy because their pain is my pain, and anything that causes me pain makes him happy. One of my greatest wishes is that men would simply love their children, no strings attached. My hope is that love will win over hatred, anger and mistrust.

4. The ability to recognize true love

I hope that from here going forward, I will always recognize pure and simple love. I hope that I will have a better ability to chose a partner. I hope to show my children what true love looks like so they can recognize it when they're older, too.

5. To educate others what life with an addict looks like (and to perhaps save someone from making the same mistake I did)

One of the main reasons I started writing about my abusive marriage to an alcoholic was to educate others about the insanity such a life brings. The more powerful, raw, honest and descriptive I am, my hope is that others can perhaps recognize their own abusive relationships and realize that it is possible to escape. Or maybe someone is dating an addict and my story might help her walk away before saying "I do." I have had dozens of women (and a few men) contact me privately to thank me for my story. On some level, it is helping. If I can save just one person out there from making the same mistake I did, to recognize an addict for what he is, then every minute I spend writing is worth it a million times over. So my wish is for those ladies who are dating an addict-- whether it be alcohol, sex, drugs, gambling, porn-- run! If she thinks he'll be different for her, she must know it's not going to happen. If she thinks he was simply an addict because his ex made him that way but she will heal him, she is wrong. My wish is that she will run. If she is already married to the guy, my wish is that she will start plotting her escape.

6. To find the perfect pair of skinny jeans

I have four pairs of skinny jeans and, truthfully, I love them all. But I'm still not sure I've found the "perfect" pair. So I keep trying them on and one day, I'll realize I've found The One! May that day come soon.

7. To visit to the Holy Lands

At the top of my Bucket List is a trip to the Holy Lands. I feel this overpowering draw to go there and I'm not sure I can ignore it much longer. May I find the funds and time to hop on a plane bound for Tel Aviv.

8. To raise happy, inquisitive children

This is maybe my biggest, and most important, challenge. Overall, my children are happy. They are survivors of an alcoholic home and a non-existent father. Yet they are kind, sweet, trusting, and loving girls. I love them as intensely as I know how, and I try to make their world as broad as possible. I take them everywhere with me-- on trips, skiing, museums, ballets, hikes in the canyons, horseback riding... I read them newspaper articles and talk to them about current events. I want them to understand that the world is a big, complex and diverse place, and that not everyone lives the same way or has the same values we do. May they have an appreciation of that diversity and, more importantly, will they some day, some how, make the world a better place.

9. For 2015 to be a year of new experiences, love, joy and learning

Much Love,

Lizzy

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