Pat Mackey: Living with a terminal cancer diagnosis

“Somehow or other you need to get yourself in a headspace of living in the moment cause it is the only place to be when you have a terminal illness. Living in the moment is the only place to be as that is where all the good things reside. Your friends, your family, your love, your humour, things you like to do and that is the key.” ~ Pat Mackey

Very wise words from a beautiful woman who shared her beautiful spirit with so many including me.

Today marks the beginning of The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association 2018 Hospice Palliative Care Week. It seemed like a fitting time to share Pat’s story.

I was very blessed to have met Pat when through my volunteer work. Despite the return of her cancer, she continued to give back to the North York General’s patient- and family-centred care initiatives. Pat also decided to share her own story about the return of her cancer, the important role of palliative care all while volunteering for the hospital and committing to enjoying every day. Sadly we lost Pat in 2014 but her legacy lives on through an award created by her family as well as the video she created during the final year of her life: Pat Mackey: Living with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Pat’s wish was that by sharing her experience, patients and families will know that “palliative care is about finding energy and joy in your day, not focusing on the illness.” Please take the time to watch Pat’s video and share it with others.

Pat was an amazing and inspirational lady. She makes one think about what they want their legacy in this world to be. I am so lucky to have met her and will remember her forever. She was truly making a world of difference.

What will your work legacy be?

Legacy

“Something that is a part of your history or that remains from an earlier time.” – Cambridge Dictionary

When we speak about a legacy, it is often in the context of when someone has passed away. One may hear “George was an amazing husband, father and family man.” or “Andrea was so selfless to the needs of others and gave so much back to her community.” Not only do we leave a legacy when we leave this earth but also in the workplaces we inhabit during our lifetime. Whether one has spent their entire career in one organization or moved around from place to place, everyone of us has a work legacy we leave behind.

Will people miss you or will they be happy you are on your way out the door? Will you be known as a brilliant business person, a deal maker, a teacher and facilitator, a backstabber, a hard-worker, bully, one of the mean girls or guys, a manipulator or micro-manager, coach, confidant, collaborator, someone who includes other, who is inclusive, makes people feel at home, a team player, a peacemaker or relationship builder.

No matter what ones role in an organization is, we all leave it with a legacy – positive, negative or indifferent. If you left today, what would your legacy be? Is this something you would be proud of? If not, what are you doing to change it?

Remember YOU and your actions have the power to decide what legacy you will leave others with. What do you think your legacy will be? What do you hope it will be?

First Impressions 

On our daily travels, we interact with many people including those we share space with on our commute to work, to the barista we purchase our coffee from to our team members and prospective clients. It takes 1/10 of a second to form a first impression based on facial impressions and non-verbal communication. Do you smile and make eye contact? Do you cross your arms and come across at standoffish? People tend to trust their gut reactions when meeting someone. What impression are you making to others on your travels?

What I Know For Sure 

Happy Birthday Oprah!

Seeing Oprah live was always on my bucket list and thankfully I have been lucky enough to see her twice. Both amazing inspiring experiences after watching her on TV for many years as well as reading her magazine since inception. I always enjoy reading Oprah’s “What I Know For Sure” page ~ the final one in her monthly magazine. On one summer holiday, I rediscovered Oprah’s Top 20 (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Top-20-Things-Oprah-Knows-for-Sure) and that had me pondering what I know for sure so I wrote my own list. I wrote this in September 2010 but it still rings true today. Enjoy!

  • That life is not always fair and does not always turn out as you dreamt and imagined but it can still be special.
  • Do things for others without the expectation of getting something in return.
  • Sometimes people in your life need time to themselves to deal with things on their own and may be out of touch but that does not diminish your friendship and relationship with them. Real connections always just have that special chemistry that picks up just where you last left off no matter how many weeks, months or years go by.
  • Cherish those special people in your life because you never know when they might not be with you anymore.
  • There is no greater feeling than when one knows who they are, what they value and what their purpose in the world is and are comfortable living their life by their own compass and not the one set by others or society.
  • In the modern society we live in, everyone seems to want everything now. It is okay to be someone that takes their time before rushing into things – life, careers, new adventures, relationships or children. You must live your own life by your own timetable. Everyone’s journey is different and for some people that just takes longer.       
  • Memories are so much more important than material things. I so treasure and cherish all the memories I have and they sustain me when times are challenging.
  • A smile, a welcoming gesture, laughter, unexpected telephone call, note or email or a simple hug can help ease the stresses of the day and offer hope to those who need it.
  • Spending time with my family and friends, laughter, food, wine and being in nature – these simple things make me happy!
  • God never gives you anything you can’t handle.
  • Knowledge is power! I am thankful that I love to learn.
  • You always need to have something to look forward to. This is where being organized and a planner comes in useful because I am always making plans to enjoy!
  • That “me” days are very important – it is okay to want time by yourself or just be a bit lazy – do not feel guilty! When your body needs rest, give it the rest it needs – your health is most important and we all need balance in our lives. When one gives all the time, they need to take care of themselves too – take time to re-store your body and spirit and nourish your soul.
  • Listen to your gut, heart and intuition – too many times we try to use our head to rationalize things and I definitely do this. It is hard when one thinks too much but truly if you listen to these three things you will always know the answer.
  • That people can be cruel and mean to others but it is really just them trying to cover up their own insecurities. One does not need this negative energy in their lives. Surround yourself with positive people and stop spending time worrying what people think. We should be busy living the life we want because life is short!
  • That no matter if you are size 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 ~ your true friends will love you just the way you are.
  • Manners, being classy and formal communication never go out of style.
  • Being a member of Junior League has inspired, empowered and made me a better person. I know the experiences I have had will enable to me to make an impact throughout my life to my family, friends, my community and anything I choose to involve myself in.
  • Emotional intelligence, the ability to build relationships and get along is so important. One can teach a bright person to do anything but attitude and passion come from within.
  • On a flight to Vancouver in 1996 just after my great grandmother died, I sat next to an older gentleman and he gave me this insight to life – many people view life as three parts – school, work, retirement where we pursue pleasurable activities. Many go through life like this but to truly enjoy life fully we should have all elements throughout all of our lives. How little did I know at the time that this would prove to be one of the best pieces of advice I ever got. It inspired my blog post New Beginnings ~ https://finnspirit.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/new-beginnings/.
  • My dad’s travel rule “If you want to bring it, you had to be able to carry it” made sure I was able to do things for myself and be independent.
  • Only YOU determine your attitude, thoughts and actions. I want to live with joie de vivre! 

What do you know for sure?