One of the biggest lessons I have learned from a post-cancer diagnosis, is learning to control the controllable – not the UNcontrollable. Ironically this is something I have needed to learn for a long time. It only took cancer to teach me this important lesson. Prior to cancer I always worried if I made people happy…to the point of wearing myself into the ground. I have never wanted anyone to be hurt by me in any way and I’ve always wanted to put a smile on people’s faces. I believe this is a very important part of life but you have to be healthy about it. The fact is life isn’t always sunshine. Now, I’m going to comment on a few negatives I see in this world but hold onto your hats because there’s plenty of good to come in this post yet! There are times that no matter how hard you work you will occasionally fail someone’s expectations, sometimes people form their own opinions of you despite your best efforts, and then other times people just don’t seem to appreciate all the positive energy you put forth in this world. And even beyond all that, there are people out there – that are just mean. They see a person trying to do good and they try to make their life a living nightmare because of it. Coming out of cancer, I have realized one important thing: what people think of you is none of your business and you need to do the best you can do every day and not sweat the small stuff. It is very freeing to come to this realization.
What got me to this realization?
Cancer can drive you NUTS because it is HUGE. It can easily catapult you into second-guessing your every move – researching books, scientific journals, and nutrition websites until your fingers bleed from typing out search queries. All the researching in the world will not change the fact that you have cancer. Researching won’t control this. You can’t control this. Trying to control cancer will constantly keep it as a forefront in your mind paralyzing your ability to stand strong and live life while fighting, quite possibly, the biggest battle of your life. Researching is a good thing, just be healthy about it. Only you will know what your level of healthy is. Just don’t let it consume you.
Cancer can also reveal the most wonderful people, doing the most wonderful things for you. Even more so, it can reveal attributes in people you could have never imagined existed. Quite often you will not be able to meet or exceed people’s expectations of you when you are sick. Some people will embrace your vulnerability and others will punish you while you are at your weakest moment and will continue to punishing you way after the fact. You can’t control this. You have to realize that everyone has a different view of how you should treat others and everyone handles illness differently.
It is key to keep stress out of your life during and after cancer treatment. Allow your mind to aide in healing your body rather than hindering it with stress. You won’t make everyone happy when you are sick. Plain and simple. Your typical “do, do, do” personality letting go for a while may shock people but that’s how it has to be. Do what you can.
The stresses of daily life can bog you down. Whether it be fighting cancer, eating right, saving money, maintaining fitness, raising a child, maintaining health, keeping family, friends, acquaintances, or coworkers happy with you, trying to get your home built, keeping your job, continually growing your educational level, or something simple like keeping your house clean – you can only control what you can control and don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too short to try to control the uncontrollable. Perhaps cancer teaches you how fragile life really is. I’ve always considered myself a pretty happy person but I didn’t know true happiness until I learned this lesson. Thank you cancer.