Illnesses can change your perspective and priorities, and I’ve learned many life lessons from cancer after seeing people I love battle the terrible disease. I learned so much from my dad, which I am always going to carry with me. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve been introduced to Buster and my little man is also a cancer survivor. Their experiences have forever changed the trajectory of my life and taught that there are a lot of things we simply can’t control, so we must seize the things we can! Here is a Photo Friday picture of my cutie:
I write books for two reasons: other than my fam jam, there’s nothing I love more than writing, and both reading and writing have always been escapes for me. Sometimes you need to lose yourself in reading or weaving a story for a break from real life. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, it means you need to fill your cup. Creating compelling characters like Brooklyn and Trevor with a storyline readers can immerse themselves in is a joy. I can’t wait to bring Sweet Redemption to you, but until then, here are some of my life lessons that inspired me to write their story (and all my other works in progress).
Life lessons from cancer
Make the conscious choice to be a positive person. Life is what you make it and chronic stress makes everything worse and is so hard on your body (especially a body battling a disease). Sometime it’s hard to stay upbeat, but the key is to try to approach negative situations in a positive and productive way. The Mayo Clinic cites many health benefits from maintaining a positive outlook on life, including:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Make the most of every moment and be present. No one knows how long they have to live or what their experience is going to be like. You know what they say about the best laid plans, right? What you do know is you have right now and you need to enjoy it as much as possible. Take pictures, make time to do things you love, and simply stop to enjoy the moment rather than being distracted by thinking about your to-do list. No one wants to have regrets, so make sure that you aren’t checking out of your own life because you only care about what (might) be happening next.
Look for reasons to be happy and you will find them. On the other hand, if you look for reasons to complain and be miserable, you will find those too. So, laugh, smile, and find reasons to be happy and grateful. Write a list the things you have versus the things you’re lacking and I promise you’ll be surprised at everything you have to be grateful for.
Plan things to look forward to. Daily life and adulting can get monotonous and repetitive. Gone are the days of having few real responsibilities, seeing your friends whenever you want, and being free from financial obligations. When someone is going through the cancer experience, they also spend a lot of time waiting. There are so many tests and procedures and every single one has a waiting period. On top of that, you also wait for the test results. Whether you’re battling something or not, plan fun things to break up the work week, take your mind off everything heavy, and give yourself something to look forward to.
Don’t take your health for granted. Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t discriminate when it comes to ruining lives and good habits aren’t a guarantee that you will stay well. However, a healthy starting point can make treatment and recovery easier. Make careful choices when deciding what to eat and find a workout program to stick with for the long haul. People need to do everything in their power to maintain their good health and reverse any of the damage poor habits have already caused (which is possible in many cases! Don’t wait until it isn’t). You can’t always prevent cancer, but a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent other illnesses, like heart disease and diabetes.
Don’t wait to enjoy life. Is there a trip you’ve always wanted to take, or a goal you’re saving for retirement? Don’t wait! You don’t know that you will get to enjoy a healthy retirement, let alone with the person you want to spend it with. James and I were planning to buy a cottage and retire there, but we’ve decided there is no time like the present. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy it together for years to come. However, if we don’t get that opportunity, at least we got to experience our dream together.
Always find the silver lining. No matter how dark the day is, there is something positive that can be taken from the experience. When Buster had his mast cell tumor removed, the vet gave him third degree burns from a heat plate (remember I told you there were other uses for honey’s healing properties in my protein cookie recipe? This it it). Buster’s recovery was brutal and emotional, but I just kept thinking: he’s still alive. He’s still here with me. And that was enough to get us through it.
Celebrate whenever you can for any reason that you can. Celebrating lets you spend time with the people you love, boosts your spirits, and acknowledges the positives in your life. Who doesn’t want that? You can celebrate reaching a new fitness goal, a promotion at work, or even the start of a new season. I’m not saying that you need to have a big party every month, but you can go out for dinner (or cook a nice one at home!), get outside and explore, or go on a weekend adventure. There is so much in life that deserves celebration – let’s do it!
Thank you for reading. Please share your life lessons with me in the comments below.
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