No one would ever argue that cancer is good news. So explaining how something that caused me a lot of pain and loss is also something that spurred my personal growth and happiness isn't easy. But the truth is, cancer has been both my enemy and my friend.
At 32, I went in for a massage and left with a stern warning from my masseuse to get a lump checked out. I took her advice — and the next thing I knew I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Hearing the diagnosis was difficult, of course. But the way I had been living my life made me miserable. It was a wake-up call and ended up being a blessing, disguised in bad news.
Hardship sometimes provides the best lessons. I've learned a lot of lessons in my life but none greater than what cancer taught me. Surviving has given me a new lease on life and I am filled with gratitude. It may sound hard to believe — when I got my diagnosis I certainly would not have — but I truly cherish the lessons cancer provided.
Telling someone that cancer is a gift is a good way to get slapped, so I've learned to explain my own journey. My hope in sharing the lessons I've learned from cancer is that others will see the potential to grow, learn, and find peace.