What would you change if you got cancer?

This last year has been of major emotional and physical transformations, of small defeats and big victories, of failure and resilience and illness and quest of health.
It’s hard to even remember what my life was like before this shadow called “cancer” started to follow me around. I can vow that it was good and intact even though at that time, I had my share of “issues” and “anxieties”.
My perspective ,of course, was out of whack. I used to be affected by smaller issues and trapped in anxieties that aren’t worth anyone’s time. I was living life on autopilot with clear denial of death and illness like an average 40 year old woman with a family and kids. The issues that occupied my mind included how to add more veggies to my kids’ diet, how to reduce screen time and how to keep the house more orderly and neat. The other concerns included trivial stuff like hair days, what I don’t have to wear and what to serve for dinner. In summary, my life was pretty good. But if you had had asked the “pre-cancer” me, I would have rattled off a list of what was wrong with my life.
Being a physician, I had work related anxieties too, stress of patient care , documentation, changing health care environment etc too.
If someone would have suggested to me, why don’t you take 6 months to a year off to focus on your health, I would have thought it to be entirely absurd, thinking who ever does that? I ended up doing exactly that, a year off for gruesome treatments.
I had a list, a list of mundane day to day things that I felt obligated to do.
I stressed over minor things, got irritated at things that weren’t worth my while. How do I know they were minor? Because I got cancer.
When cancer starts to follow you around, other issues certainly get very minute. It’s a giant that makes other ailments of mind and soul look like viral cold ,for it force you to assess that most avoided, most anxiety provoking chapter of the book of life, “death and dying”.
You look at your material accumulations and think” Is this really worth my time and money?”. You look at your to-do list and say “Is this really what used to stress me out? Did I really complain about a sore throat taking me down for 3 days?”.
Cancer completely reorganizes that schema in the head. It never too far away, silently following you where ever you go. Its whisper always echoes in the head.
Everything becomes tainted with the shades of cancer. Sometimes the tint is brightening, as it highlights the value of true joy. Of feeling life as it comes, of living it rather than getting through it. It helps focus on the blessing ,most often taken for granted, one’s health.
People do ask me about what I have really learned in the last year, what I want to say is….you can learn it too if you honestly answer this question, “What will I change in my life if I got cancer tomorrow?”.

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