10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Having Cancer

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Tomorrow is a day that I have been dreading ever since I first received the bad news a few months ago. It is the day I swallow a pill and become radioactive, with about 100 different negative side effects, one of which increases my risk for other cancers (but lowers my risk for future thyroid cancer). Swallowing the pill will be followed by a week of quarantine, so that I do not spread the radiation to other people. It’s hard not to view myself as being forever tainted, like when you purchase a new car and it breaks down before you get much use out of it. I’m that car. I’m a lemon! I caught myself thinking that maybe my husband should trade me in, like a used car, for a wife that isn’t defective. But wait, all of these thoughts are so negative! Worrying about this day, this treatment, and this entire diagnosis is not going to change the outcome. If anything, it will only hurt the outcome. So I am making a conscious decision to be happy, to not worry, to not be anxious, because none of this will help me or those around me. I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY and look at the bright side of things. For starters, I will be so relieved to finally get this over with and put it behind me. And in an effort to keep my glass half full, I’ve decided to make a list of the positive things that I have learned from having cancer.

Ten Life Lessons I’ve Learned From This Stupid Cancer Thing

1. We were not guaranteed any amount of time on this earth. Every day is a miracle.

2. Spending quality time with loved ones should never be taken for granted. Your time with them could be cut short before you are ready. Cherish them!

3. Make plans to do the things on your bucket list sooner rather than later, because there may not be a later.

4. Maintaining a healthy diet and level of fitness goes a lot further than you think and directly affects your ability to be happy.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just don’t. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

6. Make amends with your enemies. No one should leave this world with hatred in their heart.

7. Your glass is half full if that’s how you believe it to be.

8. Travel is good. Traveling puts you in an entirely new place with new people and new surroundings. It is a great way to get your mind off of anything negative and be completely in the present.

9. Sunshine is medicine for the soul. Get outdoors!

10. Don’t let fear get the best of you. Being afraid is a horrible feeling. It clouds judgment and never helps a situation. If something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen whether you are afraid or not. Be brave! (This is my mantra every time I’m in turbulence on the airplane.)


♥ Misha Gillingham

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Showing 3 comments
  • Christine

    Realized I was late on scheduling this years thyroid cancer testing and wanted to see if there was more support and information out there these days. So nice to see there is! I was diagnosed in August of ’09 when I was 24. I remember the solitude of going through radiation. Feel free to email me if you want to talk to somebody who has been there.

    • Misha

      Hi Christine, Thanks for the message. The radiation wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be and yesterday I got the good news that my scan was all clear! Have you been getting scans and blood tests every year?

  • Angelica @BkChickTravels

    So beautifully written and happy that you’re doing better! I had a scare of skin cancer a few months ago and having the scare is life traumatizing enough. You’re so strong to have gone through what you did!

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