Thursday, September 24, 2009

From lemons to lemonade to LIFE.

I lost Mom to pancreatic cancer when she was a young (74) and healthy (except for the killer inside her). Mom led a healthy life, she never drank or smoked but ate with ‘gusto’ though she was not fat…just a real ‘big boned’ lady. Other than the cancer which attacked her out of left field she was a very active woman by working the family business on a daily basis right up to her diagnosis. Her operation lasted 10 hours and as the surgeon was telling me the terrible prognosis after the surgery I knew she would beat his very best prediction of 6 months max. She lived very well and comfortable (relatively speaking) for 21 months! She was fine for all of these 21 months until her body gave out and she passed away eight hours after hospice arrived (even in her death she did not want to put anyone out and she left us very fast).

Only a few days prior to her passing Mom was giving my nephew some advise on LIFE and made sure I heard it also…her simple advise was “Work and work hard but don’t forget to live your LIFE!”. I know she was saying this after realizing that she could have lived and enjoyed her life more fully…she was a workaholic. Neither my nephew nor I questioned her why she did not follow her own advice earlier in her life because it was quite obvious that she was making sure we did not make the same mistake she did.

Years after she passed away, every time I was behind a car sporting any number of ‘awareness’ ribbons I remembered Mom’s death…yes her death. I am a product developer / inventor and set out to do something about these very negative feelings and assigned myself yet another project. During the conceptual development of an unrelated product, it came to me…LIFE!...Mom’s symbol. I recognized it immediately as Mom’s and though I was happy for having solved what I set out to do, I was saddened by the price I paid for that inspiration.

Ask any oncology nurse or doctor what is the most mentioned sentiment from cancer patients and he/she will tell you that it is regret…regret for not having done any number of things. Regret for NOT having lived their LIFE fully! All of a sudden the prognosis of six months, a year or two are not enough for doing the things you really wanted to do. Besides, now you have to go to treatments so you are not free as a bird and not as young either…your window of opportunity has closed on you.

Tim McGraw sings it best with “Live Like You Were Dying”…see him on YouTube . If I convey one message, it would be for the LIFE symbol to remind us to “Live Like We Are Dying” now while we are healthy and while we can enjoy it most.

Mom, I love you and speak about you to your grandson Nicholas often. He calls you “Mama Rosa” and loves you very much as well. Nicholas was born three days before the year since you left us. I feel you and know you are watching over us both.


Victor M. Kasatshko,
Proud creator of the LIFE symbol


  1. What you're doing in honor of your mom is truly beautiful! I agree with you that we must live as if we are dying. My aunt is battling colon cancer and my mom was placed on chemo for her crippling rheumatoid arthritis. Cancer has hit my family more times than I can count, but we get back up and move forward.

  2. Hi Tabitha,
    My heart goes out to carry too much. I wish I could help relieve some of the pains.

    Thank you for connecting and appreciating the LIFE IS Mom's symbol. I was only able to reach you due to the wonderful work that Spirit Jump is doing. I know that ALL os us will do many things together and this is just the beginning.