Is it possible for something to be both a blessing and a curse? I would have to argue yes when it comes to my cancer experience, particularly since I have played the roles of both patient and caregiver (my mom passed away after a six-month battle with a brain tumor). Would I skip this entire segment of my life? Surprisingly, no, I wouldn’t. Cancer has been a gift in many ways. It has taught me things I would have never experienced otherwise: witnessing medical geniuses at work and being inspired by their intellectual abilities, how they make a huge impact on the lives they touch who have no other hope. I have a new awareness of people’s suffering and how strong they can be when demanded of them. Observing such strength of character in action is inspiring. It has instilled a strong sense of empathy within me. I have encountered many amazing people along the way who showed me what it means to be selfless and to sincerely care about others. I have been enriched by the feelings that were evoked when I made a difference in people’s lives by becoming involved in my community.
Cancer has allowed me to create beautiful memories and learn to focus and live in the present moment. It was a gift that taught me to find gratitude and meaning in the simple things. Even in the darkest of days, that’s when some of the best memories were created - literally, some of the most incredible belly laughs and memories that I cherish would not have happened without these trials.
It has given me the ability to appreciate the small, simple things that are often the most important. Ultimately, it has changed who I am for the better, it has made me who I am today. Without it, I would not be me.