Thank You, Cancer….Really?


It is hard to understand the logic of expressing gratitude after a battle with cancer. I have heard this intriguing sentiment before and felt bewildered by it. This survivor (holding the camera herself) beautifully, powerfully, and profoundly expresses gratitude for what she has learned after a long, tough fight. Fascinating. Lemons into lemonade….

IN HER OWN WORDS: Ten years ago God spoke to me in the early morning hours. I was already in a rough place in my life, probably feeling the most desperate that I had ever felt. My college sweetheart, my husband, had left me… not once, but twice. I was alone in NY without family, struggling to keep my head above water. That night, I heard a clear voice, not distinguishable as man or woman, but a voice full of kindness and power. “Do a self breast exam.” — Those are the words that were spoken.

It’s really impossible to capture the journey of a cancer patient in just a few short paragraphs. When cancer chooses you, your life changes forever. How you see your past, how you live in the present and how you imagine the future are instantly altered. Your relationships are reconfigured and the landscape of life that you were once familiar with becomes an untamed wilderness. It’s like the show Survivor. You are dropped off in a foreign land with a bunch of people you don’t know and you are expected to fight your way to the end.

In the ten years after I heard that powerful voice I would experience more than I could imagine. I would live through countless surgeries and treatments. I would hear the words “It’s cancer…” more than once. I would discover that my body was created for this disease because of a genetic mutation. I would have to realign my dreams of a family with my hope of living a long life. I would lose my hair, lose my fertility, and lose my naiveté.

BUT God! I would also gain so much during this season. I would gain a new appreciation for life, family and love. My faith would be strengthened through my weakness and sorrow. I would experience first hand just how much the human spirit and body can endure. I would learn that as I opened myself up to others, my own story would begin to encourage and inspire those around me. My cancer, and my suffering had a greater purpose. I began to choose hope amidst the storm and feel grounded in the chaos.

I would love more, pray more, speak up more and be more grateful.

I am a better friend, wife, patient and person because of cancer. For this I am eternally grateful.