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Is there a good side to having cancer?

From guest blogger Jane Bissell

I always remember early on after my diagnosis I was watching Olivia Newton-John being interviewed on TV and she said that having cancer was 'the best thing that ever happened' to her.

Hmm.

I recall at the time being slightly horrified because I couldn't see anything good about where I was with the disease, or how anything positive could come from the experience, apart from, hopefully, getting rid of it.

When I was writing the diary which became my book Welcome to the Amazon Club, I knew I had to come up with a final entry in that over-a-year-long record of my breast cancer journey, and to end on a positive note. As it turned out, that wasn't hard to do.

A year or so after my diagnosis I was 'living a dream'. I was writing, both for myself (some creative projects) and to earn money (always a bonus!), I was working part time and of course I was researching the potential for publishing my diary as a book: so many things that I had always wanted in my life, and they were happening.

I realised that not only had I achieved some things in my life that I probably would never have done, had I not been diagnosed with cancer, but I had learned some very valuable life lessons. These lessons were things that I knew, but I had chosen to ignore them, or had given them a go, found it all too hard, and gone back to my frenetic, madly busy, pre-cancer lifestyle. Here's a little of what I wrote in that last entry:

"For this time now is all we have that we can truly call our own. When even time is threatened by illness and we know we may have less of it, we want to take what we have and make the best use of it, really live with it, use every moment as fully as we can. I feel sad that I could never do this before cancer and in a strange way, I am almost grateful that this disease has entered my life, for I doubt I would be living as vibrantly and productively if it hadn't. 

"I know how that must sound to those who have never had cancer. Crazy!

"But I believe it will make sense to those who have."

Jane Bissell is a writer and life writing workshop facilitator living in Auckland.
Visit her website to find out more.



 

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