What I Learned After Going Through Breast Cancer … the GOOD

Like most of us who are younger (me young’ish), with no family history, cancer was never on my radar. I just thought, it won’t happen to me – but 5 years ago it did. I am now in remission, but my life plan didn’t include depleting my savings, being tired half the time, gaining 20 lbs and always living with the fear of having a recurrence. In spite of all that, at my core I’m now a happier person – cancer definitely gave me some unexpected wisdom.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff …

We all get annoyed, angry and upset by things. My list of those things was pretty long but after my diagnosis, one of the first things that became apparent was that ALL of those things seemed so insignificant. It suddenly felt as though I had wasted so much energy getting annoyed by ‘stuff’ that really didn’t matter. It then all seemed like ‘small stuff’. Another way to look at it is to ask yourself “6 months from now, will this matter?” and most of the time the answer is a big fat NO. There may be a situation that does warrant getting upset, but the key there is to honour your feelings while not letting them consume you. Once I spent a lot less time getting annoyed, suddenly there was so much more time to stop and ‘smell the colourful roses’. Who knew it was that easy.

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also develop inner happiness and peace – Dalai Lama XIV

It really is true that one kind word can change someone’s entire day. To say that going through cancer is difficult, is an understatement. There are so many aspects that are challenging and it undoubtedly takes a huge physical and emotional toll. What I realized during that time was that every kind word or gesture was uplifting, regardless of how inconsequential it may have seemed to the other person. When someone showed me love and kindness during the time I needed it most, it really made a difference in my day and in my soul. So be kind, be loving not only to others but also to yourself.

Happiness can exist only in Acceptance – George Orwell

After my diagnosis, I was angry, sad and confused. How and why did this happen to ME?! One of the worst things for someone like me with a Type A personality is having no control over what is happening in your life. I had cancer and there was nothing I could do to change that. It’s frustrating, overwhelming and you can drive yourself crazy trying to make sense of it all.  Somehow, in the midst of everything while just trying to get through each day, I stopped resisting and accepted the reality of the situation. There is a serenity that came with accepting the thing I could not change. That acceptance gave way to finding happiness in those dark days and a gratitude and appreciation for my life. 5 years later, I am much better at accepting what is and going with the flow. Life is good!

I wrote this article for Future Female Magazine – http://www.futurefemalemag.com

 

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