October is breast cancer awareness month, and I have been reading some stories about women who have survived or are currently battling breast cancer. I do find it helpful to read other people’s stories, especially the positive ones. But I noticed that it can easily make me start to feel sorry for myself, particularly in the ‘people who haven’t had cancer don’t know what it’s like…’ train of thought. I did get off this particular train within minutes though. This is because I realised that not everyone gets cancer when they are young-ish. But then not everyone loses a child. Not everyone gets their legs blown off while fighting for their country. Not everyone sees their parents being killed in front of them, and then are forced to be child soldiers or sex slaves. Not everyone is lonely.
My cancer experience could have turned me into a self-pitying party pooper or a general doom and gloom merchant. But that would be awfully dull. So instead, I am trying to channel my experience into increasing my empathy for others: whoever they are, whatever their particular battle.
Not everyone has a perfect life. In fact, nobody does. And so what would be the point of thinking of myself as being ‘unlucky’ or worse off than others? I guess I could be jealous of healthy friends who don’t have cancer, but I’m not. This is the life that I have been given, and I’m going to make the most of it. Besides, how many people are blessed with a loving husband? How many with two gorgeous children? How many with a safe home? How many with clean water and more than enough to eat every day? How many with the knowledge of God’s love for them?
I thank God every day for all of the blessings that he has given me. And if my testimony helps to lead one person to faith, then I thank God for using me and my health issues for his kingdom. (No, he didn’t give me cancer.) Jesus says that in this world there will be trouble, but not to worry, because he has overcome the world.
Cancer might damage my body but it can’t touch my spirit.
And finally, ladies: check your breasts. And book a doctor’s appointment asap if you find any changes, just in case.