Looking at the Positives of Having Lung Cancer - Am I Crazy?
Okay, this post is probably going to have a lot of people looking at me and thinking I have gone stark-raving crazy. But, here goes anyway!
What would life without cancer be like?
I participate in a forum whose participants have all kinds of different cancers. Today, a post was made that asked, "Do you get wrapped up in thinking about what might have been if cancer hadn't come?" The person who asked the question is livid that she has cancer.
It was interesting that she asked that question when she did because just yesterday I was thinking of all of the positive ways lung cancer has impacted my life. And, if I can only find them, I had earlier made a list of the ways that I am lucky, in spite of and maybe because of, my diagnosis.
I hope no one calls out the men in white coats to take me to a padded room. I would never WISH to have lung cancer or any other life-threatening disease. However, I do have it and no amount of wishing I didn't will change that fact.
Counting my blessings
I choose to look at the ways lung cancer has enriched my life. It starts with a closer relationship with my family. I was humbled and amazed when my husband stepped up to the plate when I was sickest and took control of everything - grocery shopping, cooking, taking care of me. My independence and self-reliance have ensured that he never needed to take that role before I got sick. He hit the ball out of the park though when he needed to and that meant the world to me.
I have made friends within the lung cancer community that I would have never met had it not been for us sharing this disease. I wouldn't trade some of the friendships I have made for all of the money in the world. Of course, I shed many a tear when we lose people to this disease that we've come to love, but my sadness is tempered by the good memories I have of them.
Taking the time to really enjoy the beauty of life
Before I was diagnosed, my life was busy. I rushed from one place to the next. I never stopped to rest and reflect, to enjoy a new flower blooming or how the sunlight beams through the trees onto the nature trail behind my house. I had to quit working because of my cancer, but boy oh boy, do I love retirement and its slower pace! (I have to admit that I do not love the change in financial status that retirement brought, though.)
I have gotten to go and do things that I would never have gotten to do if it wasn't for cancer. We rarely traveled before I got sick. We as a couple still don't, but I have gotten to go to many cities I always wanted to see. I usually don't have a lot of time to sightsee, but try to make the most of the spare time I have.
Finding happiness from within
Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had a grant-writing business that I could have really grown if I had been able to make myself stand in front of a group and speak. I tried to do it, but I just couldn't. Lung cancer has somehow allowed me to face those fears and now I actually enjoy getting in front of a crowd and telling my story. I feel so blessed on this journey. I always want to share my hope with others.
I think I started liking myself better. I am happier and far more content. My faith has grown exponentially. And, while I list it last as a blessing that has accrued to me since my diagnosis, it actually is the very most important of all. Without it, I doubt I would be able to face a scary diagnosis with the calm, peace, and joy that I have today.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?