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Everyone Should Have Cancer

I really don't wish cancer on anyone. But honestly, everyone could probably learn something from it, because as Charles Dickens wrote, it has been the best of times, the worst of times.

It's devastating news; the most devastating I've ever heard. It's difficult mentally, physically and emotionally. It puts your life and your family's life into complete upheaval and turmoil. It forces everyone to change their daily routine and you feel incredibly guilty that you've caused that. Somehow you do what you've always done (work out, get ready, drop off the kids, go to work, make dinner, pay the bills) and you wedge in doctor's appointments, blood tests, scans and insurance calls on top of it.

Then there's surgery and treatments and post ops and time off that you don't get paid for so you have to once again rework your daily life to accommodate less money, less physical ability, and on some days, less motivation, joy and desire to even be there at all.

In the thick of it, it seems impossible. You become jealous of those around you moving from task to task without the extra burden that's suddenly hit your life. You just want to go back to that life. That life that ironically once seemed like too much itself. The hamster wheel that seemed to get you nowhere. The hectic pace that you felt like you were drowning in. The life that you already vowed to change and find more balance in.

Then cancer comes along. All of a sudden, your kids' craziness seems beautiful. (Throw in half a valium and it's really beautiful! ha!) The laundry that has to be done seems like a blessing. The food you're putting in your mouth, the fact you can even put your own fork to your mouth because a day after surgery you couldn't, seems like such a fortunate part of your life. You look outside and see the sun hitting the grass, the flowers in bloom, the warmth in the air and you actually stop to soak in the wonder of it all. And you become so thankful, so humbled and so grateful to get to experience such wonder.

On your darkest days, with hundreds of people supporting you and your family right by your side (literally by your side), you still feel alone. And there's nowhere else to turn but to yourself. And it's in that moment you realize more about yourself than you've ever taken the time to realize before; and it's not all good. You realize your beauty and your flaws.

And then the lessons begin. You can either grab hold of the beauty and fix the flaws, or you can just sink deeper into a pit. I chose to learn. I chose to grow. And I chose to build my relationship with God to make it happen. Every day I prayed that I would hear the message God was trying to tell me. Every day I prayed for what I needed specifically that day; rest, strength, patience, forgiveness, whatever it may be.

Every day, in God's perfect timing, he seemed to send me a message through scripture, through friends, through conversations, through something I was reading, through life in general.

My prayers continue: help me slow down, help me put my strength in YOU, help me put my family first (truly put my family first), help me open my eyes, my ears, and my heart to the blessings before me now and those to come in the future.

I find we often make things harder and more complicated than they need to be; we worry when we shouldn't; we plan when we should hand over control. Sometimes, we say things like, "this isn't brain surgery," or, "we're not curing cancer here."

Well, guess what, when you have cancer, there are no truer words spoken. No, we are not curing cancer - I met the people who are curing cancer because they cured me.

There will never be anything that seems more burdensome, more worrisome or more anxiety ridden than cancer. But I suspect there will also be no time more beautiful in my life than the time I had cancer and I am better for it.


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