As odd as it may seem, there have been plenty of times over the past 20+ years that I have said having cancer was a blessing. Did I want cancer? Absolutely not; however, I realized I had two choices. I could either be miserable and angry about it the rest of my life, or I could look at it in a totally different light — as a blessing!
Cancer is not a choice. Cancer does not discriminate. When I was initially diagnosed 20+ years ago, it certainly did not seem like a blessing. My emotions when I was initially diagnosed were many and very intense — disbelief, anger, depression, fear of the unknown, sadness and loneliness just to name a few — it was absolutely overwhelming. I was scared. I had a large mediastinal mass in my chest and I wanted it gone! The mass was so large that my heart was barely visible on a chest x-ray.
Suddenly I was learning medical terminology (besides the "big C") I didn't think I would ever have to know, let alone fully understand. I wondered if I was going to live. I questioned my mortality. I then realized I was blessed that the mass was found when it was.
If you're diagnosed with a secondary cancer, as I was, there is even more medical terminology to learn! I had a different team of doctors, except for my oncologist, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Being diagnosed the second time, I went through the emotional roller coaster, but was suddenly in "fight mode." It was Jenn vs. Cancer, and I was ready to win.
When I had cancer the first time, I had chemotherapy and radiation. This time my treatment involved surgeries, so I was not clear as to what to expect, but I was ready. I was optimistic. I remember making my family and loved ones laugh almost every time I was taken to the operating room. That still puts a smile on my face. I was blessed to have cancer … again.
Cancer can turn your life upside down. The treatment and recovery can be painful and long. The unexpected may occur. Side effects may be brief or long-term. What I expected to be a tough six months with my secondary cancer, breast cancer, ended up being a tough almost two years due to infections and unexpected surgeries. Was cancer still a blessing? Absolutely!
Cancer touched my life at the tender age of 23, as well as 19 years later. It was not a curse. It made me look at life with such a fresh perspective. It gave me a heart of gratitude for this life I am so blessed to live and love. I realize what a gift life is and how fragile it can be. I don't take life too seriously. I relish laughter with loved ones, am very passionate (sometimes to a fault) and am simply very, very happy! Cancer taught me to appreciate this life more than I ever could have imagined.
Cancer was a blessing in its own way, and for that I have a heart of gratitude!
Share Your Thoughts
Have you found blessings in your cancer diagnosis? Have you been able to find a rose among thorns? Share your thoughts below.