The Cancerbet – or What Cancer Does and Does NOT do – from A to Z

A          Cancer AGES us but isn’t aging what we long for?!

B          It BLINDS us to far away, future concerns. It brings us to a “near- sighted” living where we don’t miss the present.

C          Cancer gives us CAUSE – a reason to try treatments and trials for new therapies; not only for our own survival, but for those who follow us along this path.

D          It DEVELOPS our strength. Each day is a victory, no matter the difficulties and pain.

E          It EDUCATES us about our physical selves. From our largest organs to our smallest mutated strand of DNA, our body is a wonderful, complex system that is a vast frontier for exploration and discovery.

F          While cancer may frighten us, it teaches us to FOCUS on our present day’s often overlooked opportunities.

G          It GIVES us the opportunity to grow; to learn, fight, communicate and meet new friends and fellow cancer warriors and survivors.

H          Cancer HURRIES us to reconnect with displaced friends and distant family; to do NOW what we’d dreamed of doing in the future. It hurries us to set things straight – to forgive.

I           It INTERRUPTS the boredom of life without a purpose.

J           It JUSTIFIES decisions made to put family and faith in higher esteem than the job of working, saving and planning for our “long-term”.

K          Cancer kicks us when we least expect it. It can knock us down, but it KEEPSus near to those who really care.

L          It lets us LAUGH in the face of fear, if we allow ourselves to LIVE and LOVEmore fully – in the moment, every moment we have been given to live.

M         Cancer METASTACIZES – it spreads. It appears in hidden places and reappears at times we don’t expect. Once it is with you, you know it. And, for those of us who believe and trust in God, in THIS way, that ‘metastasis’ MIRRORS the characteristics of God’s Spirit within us.

N          If we allow it, cancer can NURTURE our spirit, our love and our purpose for living and loving. It does not dehumanize us, categorize us or define us.

O         Cancer OPENS us up to others’ well-wishes, advice and, on many occasions, a sharing of cancer stories about their own friends and family. Sometimes, this can be good and helpful. Other times, it can be unwanted, and even hurtful. Nevertheless, a line of communication was opened. At that point, the door is opened for us to share our story, our opinions; and as we thank them for their concern and support, we educate them about our own cancer journey.  (Oh mySorry, that was quite an opus)!

P          It PUSHES and PULLS us constantly, simultaneously in many directions; not only past our physical parameters, but also within the emotion, mental, spiritual and relational realms of our psyche.

Q         Cancer QUIZZES us daily during our treatment about our “Quality versus Quantity” of life.  If every person, regardless of their cancer status could learn to question their daily decisions, choosing “Quality over Quantity”, think how all lives would improve – in work, school, talents, diet, relationships – the list goes on and on.

R          Cancer “RAINS on our parade” – sometimes in a burst of a thunderstorm, sometimes in a steady, soaking rain.  Were you “saving for a Rainy Day”? Today is that day! Put on your knee-high rain boots and make a splash in the puddles!

S          Cancer SOFTENS us, but a “softer” me appreciates and relies more on the strength of those who surround and support me.  In my life, that’s God, family, friends, prayer partners and my medical teams.

T          TREATMENT for your cancer can be tricky.  What works for someone with your same diagnosis may not work for you.  Or, it might work a while, then the tricky tumors transition and become resistant. Sometimes, your treatment works – even one type – and you’re done.  Now, that’s a terrific treat!

U          Cancer USES all our resources – not just financial resources, but mental, physical, emotional and spiritual, as well. After your own resources are all used up, you begin to understand the battle’s difficulties on all who are supporting you.

V          It VALIDATES our need for community and the value of teamwork. We do not take this voyage on our own. It takes volumes of people: medical teams, research teams, pharmaceutical teams, and communities of family and friends who support, pray, care and love us.

W         It WALKS with us every day. It waits in hiding until we are aware of it. We do what we can to whittle it away and we know, in the “long run” eternally, it cannot win.

X          Cancer may X-OUT your pre-planned, pre-conceived plans, but it does NOT have to X-OUT your goals and dreams.

Y          Cancer YANKS at our heart, yells in our head as it yearns to consume us. And while treatment, surgeries, procedures and trials attempt to stop it immediately, it must yield in time.

Z          It “ZESTS” us, like a lemon is zested with a grater – scraping the outer, physical layer of our being to reveal the zesty, bright flavor of our lives. When a little bit of our zest is added to someone else’s dish, it brightens and enhances their flavor.

There is SO MUCH from A to Z that we will experience on our journey with cancer, let us not ignore even one single letter as we “write” and share the story of our lives.