The words “thankful and cancer” do not usually go together! But maybe they can….
Although intellectually we are far above other animals, we have a tendency to live our lives with a tunnel –like vision.
We see our life as we anticipate it to be and often believe “this can’t happen to me”! This belief then leads us to expect how our day to day life will take place. But things don’t always work the way we think they will! There’s an old saying I like and so not to bring religion to this you can fill in the (higher power) of your choice; we make plans and (G-D) makes decisions.
When we are faced with a diagnosis of cancer, everything changes; our plans, our life and most often our values. We begin to appreciate the “little things” in life that we once took for granted.
I like to compare this to a recession. When a recession hits, people start to take notice to their spending whether it’s for personal expenses or business expenses. When profits are threatened, a business begins to make cuts, clean house and spend more conservatively. In the end, they often show greater profits once things are back to “normal” because they have “trimmed the fat” by cutting out layers of unnecessary positions, in other words, finding more efficient ways to get the same work done.
A person with a cancer diagnosis goes through a similar self evaluation. What is really important in their life? How can they make their life better? If a survivor, now given a “second chance”, how can they have better quality of life whether it’s travel more, work less hours, change jobs or careers, exercise more, spend more time at home with family and friends or maybe take up that hobby they have put off for too long. Often those surrounding someone recently diagnosed will also attempt to re-evaluate their own life and although there is a positive domino effect that takes place, it’s just not the same as for the person who has received the actual diagnosis. They have been faced with cancer. They have to make changes. They need to feel as though they have some control.
Survivors can be “thankful” for their cancer as it has most likely made them re-evaluate their own lives.
Changes are made for the better and people can be stronger and healthier. Although they live everyday with the stress of cancer returning, they have removed the stress of the day to day challenges they no longer find important enough. A new television series on Showtime called “The Big C ” is a great example of how life can change once a diagnosis of cancer is received. How a woman became so focused on her family and grown-up responsibilities, she had lost the fun and exciting side of herself which she is trying to re-gain.
I know personally for the co-founders of HIS Breast Cancer Awareness, the diagnosis had a very positive impact on our lifestyle by putting into prospective what is truly important to our selves. For this we are very thankful!
Wishing all a time of reflection and self evaluation for a very thankful Thanksgiving.