How Dealing with Cancer is Like Building a House

by Christie Perkins

If you have ever built a house you know the deep ditch neuro pathways you carve from overthinking details.

You even sometimes dream about the process… or have nightmares.

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor_ _Winter is dead.”(1)You have lived in other places and you quickly categorize what you like and don’t like. You adopt and adapt from previous experience the things you should do for the next house. But some things you take for granted, like the placement of plugs. You don’t really think about those details because someone else does the thinking for that.

Unless you’ve had a bad experience with that.

In my last house I had one light switch in a bedroom that was vacationing halfway down the wall. Ok. Maybe not that far. But, you would practically jab your armpit with the door frame before you found the switch… and I always prayed that a spider wasn’t playing boogie man as I felt the wall.

That’s crawly (not to mention creepy).

Anyway. The mind power thrusted at the next new house seems to gobble a life of well rounded brain power. No other thoughts are allowed in. It gobbles fun family outings…”Seriously mom we are looking at lights Again!” And it gobbles a balanced life.

But, when it is all said and done the moment comes when you are happy with the product. You move in and life is bliss. Yet, as you get to know your new territory you continue to think about things that you wished you would have done differently.

I should have put a window in the front. I should have put in a garden tub… yadda, yadda.

And the reevaluation begins.


Building a Cancer House (…yeah, not recommended)

And so it is with cancer. Suddenly you find yourself carving the deep ditch neuro pathways from overthinking details.

You categorize your life into what you like and don’t like. You adopt and adapt new methods for an improved life. You think about the things you have control over… and the things you don’t.

And for hard to avoid situations you learn to carry Raid and a flashlight. You become smarter, much smarter, about how you spend your day.

But all of this gets you wrapped up in some sort of time warp. You try to build that perfect house without knowing when the construction loan is up. So time and effort and thinking power all goes into the house plans you never see.

It can make you a little crazy but somehow you know that you are building the ultimate dream home.

One day I figured it all out. I had been searching for the “right” thing to do with my life. Questions would swarm my head: Am I doing the right thing? What am I wasting my time on? What do I need to do differently? How can I be a better mom? But, I kept jabbing my armpit looking for the light.

Sure, I’ve asked these questions before but now these questions were deeper. These weren’t wimpy little ditches I was digging my trenches to China. Yet, it seemed like I never found the surface.

But, I just had to know if I was on course. I spent a lot of time praying and overthinking when I was hit over the head with a very basic and simple answer.

You’re doing fine. Be happy and have joy.

Yes. That was it. Don’t just step, put a spring in it. I was doing enough of what I “needed” to do but I was missing the one true element to just relax and enjoy the moment. The key was today: enjoy today; stop worrying about tomorrow.

Yes. Stop worrying about what I can’t change. Stop worrying about wrapping up all the loose ends. There will always be loose ends. Stop over planning; over preparing. Girl, stop overthinking it all. Start living and have fun doing it.

Ok, ok. If you say so. And just like that I have avoided the spider boogie man and found the light.



How to Build a Life Without Regrets:

Do you want to build a life without regrets? Take out a paper and make daily goals in these 5 areas to “BUILD” a better you. It’s living a life without regret. It’s how you stop worrying about tomorrow because you are taking care of it today. It’s the way to put a spring in your step. And this is how I will daily build my mansion without ever really knowing when the construction loan is up:

Become. Become who you want to be. Take a moment every day (even just 20 minutes) to work on your passions, your faults, or your spiritual fine tuning. Every single day folks.

U  Unite. Connect with someone every day. Purposely plan who you want to connect with each day. For me- my family tops the list. True happiness settles in when you tuck yourself in bed and know that you connected with someone you needed to today.

I  I (as in me). Yep, good ole’ me time shouldn’t take the backseat all of the time. Throw out the booster seat and upgrade to the steering wheel. Go ahead. I give you license to do so. Just don’t break any rules. Selfishly indulge in something you want to do. Don’t forget to feed the fun side of life. If you love reading, hiking, painting, singing to youtube videos- make and take time for it. It doesn’t have to be anything big just do something you love.  Don’t say “I can’t,” find a way you can! (I can’t go to Germany today but  I can explore that cave down the road that I’ve never been to).

L  Love. Let this be your lifetime logo. Surprise yourself and find love in the mundane (spruce it up with good music). Catch yourself grumbling in your head and change it to a more pleasant sound- you create what that is. Let the negative words and sentences be replaced by the positive. As you do this you will be surprised how it changes your outlook on even the most (and least) difficult things in life. Always, always, always love people. And as for the most quirky characters in life… find something you really like about them. Let this be a habit.

Decide. Decide at the end of day what you want to do to make the next day better. One day at a time. Spend a little time thinking, planning, and achieving what you want out of life. Make a plan, write it down, and live a life without regrets. Don’t just let life happen, make it happen.

And I know that that dream home will be magnificent because I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and we just have to trust. So today I will take the building products of the day and I will create the best work I can. I’m going to fall, I’ll laugh at my wobbly walls; I’ll spray the dirt and the kids with the hose. But most of all, today I will choose to be happy and have joy. Planning helps you find that satisfaction. You will know what you need to do. I’m sure of it.

The journey is my joy- let’s put some spark into it.

What other building materials do you use to live a life without regret?


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6 thoughts on “How Dealing with Cancer is Like Building a House

  1. Christie you are such a great example of “BUILDING” a better you! I hope that I too can “BUILD” a better me and live life to the fullest. I want to LIVE a life full of joy without regrets! Love you!

  2. You are so amazing, I love to read your. Messages of hope, and building you! Really makes me stop and think! You are so good and have a wonderful gift to give so many people! Remember how very special you are! Love you, you are awesome!
    God Bless!

  3. Just want you to know that my 15 year old son has been dealing with horrible health problems in which he cry’s out to God “Why me?” “How can you make me suffer one more day?” Etc. I referred him to your blog months ago and every time he reads it he feels bad for complaining, realizes others have it worse and also is inspired by your positive attitude. My son knew your oldest son years ago in school and he can’t imagine the pain and yet strength (although somewhat forced) of your children.

    Just want you to know what a strength and inspiration you are to others and also know that we have prayed for you for several years.

    Hang in there!

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