This piece resonates with me from Chapter 25’s closing paragraph: “Don’t waste your cancer. The world has opened up to you. Your heart has opened up to many other people because of your cancer.”
Wasting my cancer journey would be learning nothing from my illness experiences & going back to living the same way I did before entering what I call the “cancer world” – because it is a world like no other & few understand its meaning.
In 1 way, I hate cancer because of how it’s physically ruined my life. And, oh, it has. Walking with a cane. Suffering from dry eyes. And a cotton-dry mouth. A permanently extremely weakened immune system. Pathetically damaged joints. Weak thin bones. Minute energy. No balance. I can’t smile due to facial paralysis. I wish I could smile again, that makes me sad knowing I can’t.
In 1 way, though, I am indebted to cancer for the numerous life lessons fighting the disease has taught me:
Like living for the moment because the next can be wholly different. – This meant for me, completing schoolwork from high school & then college as soon as I could, because 1 hour during my cancer journey I could feel fine laying in my hospital bed writing an essay, but by the next hour I could be too nauseous to lift my head.
Or accepting people with no regard to their personal appearance. Having used a walker, wheelchair, 4-point cane, sported a bald head under a hat, been struck with facial paralysis, been so pale one guy at a church I used to attend asked me if I had to stay out of direct sunlight, seen children who don’t know me being obviously uncomfortable with the way I look – I now know firsthand, very well, what it’s like to look different than the norm & that Appearances Don’t Define A Person. In a nutshell, since appearances don’t define a person it’s beneficial to employ an acronym I came up with when you see someone who looks different from anyone you’ve ever seen before. All you need to do is A.S.K. Always Show Kindness.
The “saving the best for last” cliché rings true here as I share my lesson learned of the most importance: Spend time loving other people, not hating them. Arguing & conflicts are a mammoth waste of time in lives so fleeting as ours. “Ours” meaning Every Single Body On This God-Created Earth.