Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What I've Learned From Cancer

I’ve learned that the best cure is the one you believe in the most.

I’ve learned that people get sick for different reasons and they heal in different ways. 

I’ve learned there’s no such thing as false hope. 

I’ve learned that having a dog snuggle up beside you is the best medicine there is.

I’ve learned that a life-threatening disease is the fastest way to find out what your spouse is made of (though I don’t recommend it as a testing device).

I’ve learned that sometimes the people who are there for you aren’t always the ones you expect to be there.

I’ve learned to forgive those who weren’t there for me, understanding that people often don’t know what to say or do and many are afraid.

I’ve learned that a sick child brings out the best in parents, no matter what the age of the child or parent, and that cancer has a way of instantly erasing all the crap between you that once seemed important.

I’ve learned that fathers love by fixing and mothers love by cooking and cleaning.

I’ve learned what fear and love look like as they run together on the faces of those who love you most.

I’ve learned that Nicki Giovanni was right – we are responsible for those we love and for those who love us.

I’ve learned about the immense power of the mind to heal the body and how much control over healing each of us really has.

I’ve learned the power of words….
-   How the word malignant can evoke fear in even the bravest among us.

-   How the body listens to every word you say, so its important not to use clichés like “This is killing me.” 

-   How the words doctors use influence whether their patients live or die. When doctors tell their patients they’re going to die, they generally do.   

I’ve learned that your unconscious and your body are very aware of the mood of an operating room – that it makes a difference how the doctors feel - about you, about what they’re doing, and about the eventual outcome.  (And it seems to help to have Motown playing in the background).

I’ve learned the power of prayer and how it doesn’t matter how someone prays or even how well they know who they’re praying for – it just matters that they pray.

I’ve learned what it feels like to receive love and energy from other people, to actually feel it coming into your body – it is both electric and soothing at the same time.

I’ve learned that a big part of healing is letting go, getting rid of all toxins, both emotional and physical.

I’ve learned that we attract to us the experiences we need in order to learn and grow.

I’ve learned that you don’t have to get sick to grow spiritually and emotionally (but it seems to work out that way for many of us).
I’ve learned there is no single explanation as to why I got cancer.  It wasn’t the mosquito truck or not having children, or smoking or drinking or too many cheeseburgers, or lack of nurturing, a bad marriage or a stressful job.  It is all of these things and none of them. 

I’ve learned that avoiding stress is very stressful.

I’ve learned that it’s true – shit happens.  It’s equally true that when it does, those of us looking for the pony amongst the shit are the ones most likely to survive.

I’ve learned that getting a new set of breasts is kind of like getting a new car.  You start seeing similar breasts all around you, when before you hadn’t noticed them at all.

I’ve learned that it’s not nice to make fun of middle-aged women who have round perky breasts because they might have had breast cancer.

I’ve learned that it’s not nice to make fun of middle-aged women who have round, perky breasts whether they’ve had cancer or not.

I learned how to ignore the drainage tubes sewn into my skin and the douche bags flapping from my chest.  I learned how to conceal the extra baggage under a stylish layered ensemble.  I learned how to accessorize cancer. 

I’ve learned that whenever possible, you should schedule mastectomies in the winter months because it makes for easier hiding of the afore mentioned drainage system.

I’ve learned it’s better to schedule hospital stays during holidays because you have a better choice of rooms.

I wrote this in 2001 when I ventured through cancerville the first time. Found it today and thought it would make a nice post. I'll follow up with new learnings soon. 

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