Perk # 55: Cancer Made Me Re-Evaluate The Relationships In My Life

“Being diagnosed with breast cancer and being given the opportunity to survive provides each of us with the chance to step back and assess how we are spending our time and begin to look more closely as to whether what we are doing is really contributing to this world in a positive way.

We are in touch with our mortality ahead of schedule and begin to realize that life is more precious than we recognized or conceived and needs to be valued and not taken for granted. Relationships take on a different tone, some perhaps ending and others becoming more meaningful.”

-Lillie Shockney

Darn! I wish I had said that.  Although these are not my words, they certainly resonate very strongly with me.  People expect that when you get cancer you suddenly get great insights in to life.  Well, they are right.  When I am asked about my great insights, I have only one: The only thing that really matters in life is people.  You already knew that, right?  Yeah, so did I, intellectually.  But knowing it, and really believing it are two different things.  And cancer has the perk of allowing you to really believe and feel the truth of that statement.

Like Lilly Shockney, cancer made me re-evaluate the relationships in my life.  I ended some, and gave more of my energy to others.  On that note, I would like to pay tribute to my wonderful friends, those people who are truly deserving of my time and energy.  I have been blessed from a very young age with meaningful friendships.  Lily, Winnie, and Denise saw me through my childhood and teen years.  While our lives have gone in different directions, there is a bond between us that time can never break.   Then there are the friends who were with me for a season of my life, Sandy, Carol Anne (with an “e”) and Anita, just to name a few.  Finally, there are my soldiers.  These friends have been in the trenches with me for more than a decade, and when the going gets tough, it is these phenomenal women that I first turn to.  They have cried with me, laughed with me, and drank wine with me through divorce, new relationships, break ups, Ben’s diagnosis of autism, and now the Big C.  I can depend on them for anything. I thank God for this wonderful gift of friendship, and I thank these friends for sharing my life, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I love you guys!

Madonna, Jackie, Sherry and Me (in short hair wig)

Natalie, Me and Veronica (when I still had hair)

Tip:  When you are battling cancer, your time and energy become more precious to you.  Don’t waste it on toxic relationships, instead nurture those relationships which allow you to be your best self.

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7 thoughts on “Perk # 55: Cancer Made Me Re-Evaluate The Relationships In My Life

  1. There are so many friends that I have not mentioned in my post, because there is just not space enough to name them all….like
    Lori P….who gives me lots of laughs
    Michelle S….who cheers me on from afar
    Kathy H…..my newest friend
    Shawn W….not only my soul mate, but also a very caring friend
    Jen and Dana….cyber friends who are sharing the breast cancer journey
    and many others…thanks for being there!

  2. Hi there! It is amazing how similar our experiences are on this “journey.” When I was at my follow up appointment with my oncologist last week, we talked about how much this experience has changed me (for the better) and talked about some of the things I have learned. Without hesitation I told my doctor that I have learned how much people truly care about me. The support I received (and still receive) from friends near and far, online and in “real life,” has been amazing.

    I never would have realized this if it weren’t for breast cancer. Oftentimes I wonder if I will ever be able to adequately thank everyone who has supported me.

    To your point – the only thing that really matters in life are our relationships. As you said, knowing this intellectually is one thing. Experiencing it firsthand and believing it is definitely the greatest perk of all.

  3. Jen, although we have never met, I count you among my friends because we have shared this journey through our blogs. When I read your post a couple of days ago, it mirrored exactly how I was feeling at the time. Keep blogging!

  4. So much truth in Lillie’s words, as well as yours. Having cancer just makes us more aware that the time we have is precious and we can’t afford to waste one single minute on wrong relationships. Thanks for sharing this perk with us!

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