I've learned a lot about perspective since January.
Perspective: a way of regarding situations, facts, etc. and determining their relative importance.
I used to think that life was too short to be anything but happy. Let me tell you, hearing a surprise Cancer diagnosis makes that statement ring true in spades. I thought I was happy, and I was but I wonder now how much I appreciated my life.
Think about what is important to you. When you get that list in your mind, what is on there that you can live without? How would you prioritize the list? What gets pushed to the side when things get rough?
My diagnosis changed EVERYTHING. From small things like my sleep patterns to larger things like how I handle stress. I have said before that I took my good health for granted. Never again.
For many weeks I had to abandon my normal patterns of eating carefully and eat to gain weight....WHAT??? No one has ever told me to work on GAINING weight. It was as if my oncologist was speaking a foreign language. It scared me a bit because I had fought so hard to lose weight over the years. I also had no energy at the time to exercise which added to the fear. Luckily, after one treatment, I started feeling a bit better and could ease into light exercise. Looking back, it wasn't that hard to do what I needed to do to get better.
Another thing I learned is that EVERYONE is fighting a battle so I am lot less judgmental. Well, I am lot less vocal in my judgements...no one is perfect. ;-) In all seriousness, though, everyone fights a battle...maybe it's weight, maybe it's an emotional issue, maybe it's cancer, maybe it's none of my business what someone else is battling but it's important to know that we all have our battles.
I rewarded myself for the small victories along the way in my journey. A reward doesn't have to be a material thing; early on my rewards were some new yoga practices. I am a member of yogadownload.com and it was a lifesaver during my journey. Meditating helped to keep my mind focused on getting better over dwelling on what was wrong with me. I also found a couple of practices geared toward people battling cancer and survivors. They made me feel empowered. Yoga has often made me feel like I can take on the world...if I can take on the world, cancer was going to be no big deal.
I learned to be easier on myself. All my life I have been my own worst critic. Now, I give myself some slack regularly. I am admitting that I have limitations and that's OK. I have learned that I have an amazing network of family and friends. I have learned that I have touched a lot of people in my life. I have learned to ASK for help when I need it. I think that was tougher than learning I had cancer!!
My journey has made me want to give back. I am trying to figure out what that is going to entail for me. My sister created a Relay for Life team and a couple of weeks ago we walked Relay for 6 hours and raised over $2500.00 for the American Cancer Society. I am thinking about finding a local support group...not only for support for myself but I might be able to help others who might be struggling with a diagnosis or treatment or whatever...sometimes it's just nice to know you're not alone.
I look at everything a little differently now. I appreciate every sunrise even though I sleep through a lot of them these days. I appreciate the sunshine, the rain (although we could go a few days without it!)...the dragonflys, the flowers. I appreciate the people in my life who reached out while I was in treatment...I probably haven't said that enough. I am going to say it more. I don't think I will ever say that a cancer diagnosis is the best thing that ever happened to me but I am determined to be changed because of it.