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The Perspective Shift of My Life

I learned that I had cancer in October of 2017. I felt like I was melting, that my body was literally sinking, and I was soon going to be just a puddle. The core of my being as I knew it was over, I thought.

I felt a pit in my stomach that extended to my feet, and a literal wave of heat came across my body.

I was able to hear that while I was not curable, I was treatable. Those words stung like a million bees at once. I was so focused on the “not curable” part that I missed the being treatable part.

The unending questions in my head

I stayed in this place of shock for several weeks and months and it still trickles in from time to time over six years later. I wasn’t sure what was next for me in the beginning. Do I plan vacations or not? Do I buy things like cars? Will I get to see Christmas?

All of these questions were ever present in my mind. Then, those questions got deeper and deeper.

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What will my mom do without me? Will my husband be ok? Will he move on? The really daunting questions were literally flying around my brain like darts, and the noise was so loud.

Then one day I was speaking to a friend who is a medical practitioner and she really helped me see what was really in front of me and that was living life intentionally right now in this moment. This was pure gold for my mental health.

It clicked, and I understood the accuracy of her statement. I realized at that moment that I didn’t know what tomorrow held before cancer, and I certainly wasn’t sitting around pondering hard questions.

What I had to do vs. what I got to do

Life before cancer was usually wishing life away, waiting for the weekend, running here and there, trying to maintain a home, career, and all the other things I was involved in, and just going through the motions, so to speak.

I was grateful for my life, but I don’t think I really savored it all. I was simply sitting in a place of all the things I HAD to do instead of all the things I GOT to do.

I got to go to a job that paid the bills. I got to be involved in my community. However, in my mind at the time, these were all things that I processed as stuff I HAD to do.

The perspective shift of my life was being forced to think about my own mortality, but not in the way that you might think. I was forced to think about going the extra mile to make the extra memories, to plan the vacations, the dinners, and the outings, to take the pictures, and to be grateful for the life events that I got to be a part of, such as babies being born, celebrating my husband’s career promotion, and my 93-year-old grandmother’s birthday, to name a few.

Finding gratitude in each day

This perspective shift would not have ever happened without cancer entering my life. I try to find gratitude every single day, whereas, before cancer, I might not have been as active in being grateful for so much.

I have heard many say that cancer was a good thing to happen to them because of learning to live a purposeful life. If I could hand cancer back, I certainly would, but would my outlook remain the same, or would I default back to the hustle and bustle of everything and try to get through the day?

I guess you could say that cancer changed my life in more than one way. We don’t think about cancer changing us for the better, but I firmly believe that cancer has changed my perspective on living a life of gratitude and hope and never giving up, even when it’s difficult.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The LungCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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