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[Cancer, Personal]

[cancer] The gifts of cancer

By and large, I am much better these days. The antibiotic course has been effective, within the context of the usual unpleasantnesses. The surgical seam is nicely healed, though I feel it when I am very tired. I haven’t been aware of the internal seam in a while.

Still, I stop and think about this often. Sometimes for a moment, sometimes for quite a while. And today I realized cancer has given me a number of gifts.

I am far more in touch with my body these days than ever before. (You! In the back! Quit snickering! This is a family blog.) My comprehension of the immediate and longer term consequences of things like dietary choices, activity choices, resting time and so forth is much stronger than before. My recent cholesterol workup was the best I’ve ever had. I weigh less than I have since I left college.

I am much more thoughtful about how I spend my time. I’m a lot more ruthless in declining events, opportunities, even people. This feels selfish to me, but it also feels like much better self-care.

I am much more careful with how I spend my energy. I take more breaks, more downtime, am not trying to paint my schedule wall-to-wall.

Even better, I’m pretty sure I’ve got enough of a handle on those issues not to go back to my old defaults. At the least, I’m going to work at it.

I wouldn’t wish my path to these gifts on anyone, but they’re clearly things I needed to hear and understand. Cancer brought me to my knees and bent to my ear and whispered to me that I should be mindful of what I spent my life on. And so I am trying to be.

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