Whether you have been given a life-altering diagnosis or you were/are a caretaker, friend, family member or significant other affected by a disease/illness, it can be difficult to find gratitude in such a painful situation. Looking for the good in such a sad scenario can feel nearly impossible.
Everytime I hear of the passing of an individual with cancer, I am taken back to my dad's 10-month battle with a rare cancer that metastasized to his spine. Even though it's been over 5 years, I still struggle every day and wish he was still with me. My dad didn't like to talk about his cancer. I respected his decision to keep his cancer diagnosis silent but it was also very difficult for me to not let others know that he was suffering. Others have choosen to be more open and vocal about a current health situation and find positivity in such a challenging and difficult scenario.
There's no denying that there's a great level of frustration, anger, worry, sadness and fear when given/hearing about a life-threatening or fatal disease. But with these normal emotions, there can also be gratitude.
For myself, after my dad passed away from cancer, I started to look at life differently. I realized that life was constantly teaching me lessons and I needed to listen. I realized more than ever before that every day of life is a gift. You can't choose to not get cancer (or any other type of disease/illness) but you can choose how you will live each day of your life.
Here are some of the lessons I've learned from cancer:
- Don't let life pass you by.
- Don't wait for the right time to start/do something.
- Travel and see the world.
- Don't spend money, time and/or energy on insignificant things that are not truly important to you.
- Focus your energy on your priorities.
- Learn to say no.
- Don't do things out of guilt or to please others.
- Let go of what you can't control.
- Enjoy the present moment.
- Connect with people you love. Let others know that you appreciate them.
- Let go of worry and what if.
- Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. Ditch people who suck the joy out of you.
- Be your gratest cheerleader. Feed yourself positive words.
- Look for the good in every situation.
- Don't judge, compare or make assumptions. You never know what someone else is going through.
- Never take something for granted.
- Always fight for what you want. Never give up.
- Indulge yourself. Give into something extravegant every now and then.
- Be kind and compassionate.
- No matter what you face, don't let it define you. Stay courageous and strong.