The idea of living your life as if you’ll never have tomorrow has appeared time and again in pop culture. Rock band Switchfoot made it a main theme in the 2002 hit “Dare You To Move.”
Country music star Tim McGraw penned a similar anthem with his 2004 single “Live Like You Were Dying.” It’s an absolutely wonderful sentiment.
However, when death starts knocking at your door, it’s a whole lot harder to put it into practice — at least for most people. But Isabella de la Houssaye seems to not have had a problem trying to seize the day.
According to People, de la Houssaye was entirely committed to healthy living. In fact, when the 55-year-old marathoner started feeling poorly in 2018, she assumed that she’d simply hurt herself.
“When I got symptoms last fall, everyone thought it was a sports injury, that I was overdoing it and it was overuse, which actually delayed the diagnosis,” she said.
“I was so active, and it was a good thing and a bad thing. If someone had said to me that lung cancer migrates to the spine, and then to the brain, I would have been more tuned into this level 10 paid that I was experiencing, but I didn’t know that.”
The reason for her pain turned out to be far more devastating than the actual discomfort. She had metastatic cancer.
“At that point it was stage 4 lung cancer,” de la Houssaye told People. “I had a good size tumor, seven centimeters, in my lungs.
“My entire sacrum was cancer. I had six tumors in my brain, I had them in my sternum, I had them in my pelvis.”
I suspect that most people would entirely abandon whatever plans they had and plunge headfirst into treatment. But not de la Houssaye.
“What would you do if, after 54 years of ‘clean living’ — no drinking, no smoking, exercising every day — you were diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer?” her son Cason Crane asked on Facebook.
“If you were my mother, you’d channel Arya Stark and say, ‘Not today.’”
According to The New York Times, she decided to go on adventures with each of her five children. And when I say adventures, I really mean adventures.
She has hiked over 500 miles of a Spanish medieval pilgrimage trail called the Camino de Santiago with her son Oliver, her fourth child. She and David, her second child, completed an Ironman race in South Korea.
She even summited the Argentinean mountain of Aconcagua with her third child, Bella. That proved tough for everyone involved.
“I don’t think I can do this anymore,” de la Houssaye said during the trek. “I’m going to take each day at a time, but have no illusion that I will get to the top.”
She was wrong. She did make it to the top, but had to have guides help them off the peak.
In his tribute to de la Houssaye, Crane wrote, “Our circumstances could have been different, and they are for many, and she has taught me that as we go on these journeys, we must ask how we can use them to try to make the world a better place for everyone. My mother has lived this philosophy every single day of her life.
“She inspires me and countless others to try to live our own lives better every day, and if we’re fortunate enough to be able to do so, help others do the same. Love you, mom.”
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