Cancer is not a gift.
I remember reading articles and watching interviews from individuals claiming that cancer was a gift, that they embraced it with open arms because it taught them so much. It taught them to love and appreciate life. When I heard these things, I would throw up a little in my mouth. Call me crazy but that’s not the gift I wanted to receive all wrapped up under my Christmas tree.
A gift does not make you weak and frail. It does not subject you to toxic treatments. It does not make you throw up at the sight of food (or for no reason at all). It does not make you emotional, irritable, and fearful. It does not mess with your self-esteem or negatively alter your self-image. It does not force you to fight for your life. And it surely isn’t fun or something you are dying to show-off to your friends. Hey guys, look at this cool tumor I got for Christmas, isn’t it awesome?
There was no way that cancer was going to make Amazon’s Wish List, this was for certain.
I used to think to myself, I seriously didn’t need cancer to make me enjoy or appreciate life. I was already doing that. In fact, the only thing I didn’t particularly like about my life was the whole cancer thing. Not something I would recommend trying.
In my teens, twenties, and early thirties, I didn’t need to be reminded of how great life was because I already knew. I was young; the last thing I was looking for was this type of enlightenment. I just wanted to live carefree for a while, have fun, and do ‘normal people’ things. I didn’t want to put my life on hold and make life-altering decisions. I didn’t want to be the ‘girl with cancer’. But I was.
About four or five months ago I read a book about a woman’s cancer journey whereby she refers to cancer as a gift. This was one of the many books that I picked up as a means of enlightening myself about everything and all things cancer. Although I appreciated this woman’s courage and bravery while battling the disease, I still couldn’t come to terms with the idea behind the title. By the time I reached the end of the book, I understood exactly where the author was coming from, but in all honesty, I was still having trouble applying the concept to my own life.
As part of my journey towards healing myself, I promised that I would try to see my disease in a different light. I promised myself that I would focus on the upsides of cancer (which I will discuss in another blog post, so watch out for that), and that I would try to focus on changing my lifestyle and attitude. The part about appreciating and loving life, I already had mastered that.
With each of the last five times that I had cancer, it was never a gift for me, and that has not changed. But what has changed is that my current situation has forced me to accept the cancer and deal with it differently than I had been. I didn’t need or ask for this wake-up call, but now that it was presented to me, I needed to act on it. Plain and simple.
In my opinion, cancer does and will always suck. But what doesn’t suck is the love and support that surrounds me.
The pleasure and enjoyment I get out of life doesn’t suck.
Having awesome skin from all of the juicing and vegetables that I have been devouring doesn’t suck.
Learning and trying out new things doesn’t suck.
Having an excuse to sleep a little more doesn’t suck.
Being a role model and inspiring others doesn’t suck.
Writing this blog doesn’t suck.
And for better or for worse, cancer has been the driving force behind all of these things.
As for the whole ‘cancer as a gift’ thing, I still won’t be putting that on my Christmas list 😉
Love, health, and fun presents!