Guest Post

It is Wednesday, time to feature one of my favourite bloggers.  When you have cancer, it is easy to let yourself get down and focus on the negative.  It takes a special person to look beyond the disease and discover the blessings hidden beneath.  Introducing Rachel……

Rachel with husband Barry.

Rachel is a 40-something gal who is lucky enough to be married to her best friend.  Together, they live with one rather large, very fluffy cat named Pumpkin at their home near Chattanooga, Tennessee.  She is blessed to have two incredibly sweet and beautiful stepdaughters and are both exploring life as newly married chicks.
She is a website coordinator for an OTC/Healthcare products manufacturer where she manages digital marketing projects and builds websites for more than 28 brands.  Rachel loves to write, read, create digital art, build websites, and sleep (just being honest here!).
Rachel recently completed six initial rounds of chemotherapy treatment for stage 4 indolent b-cell follicular lymphoma in the kidney and skin.  This form of lymphoma is non-curable at this time, so she is in partial remission and will soon begin a maintenance regimen of Rituxan in an effort to keep the lymphoma at bay as long as possible.  She blogs about her experiences with cancer at http://rachturner.wordpress.com where she talks about how she’s trying to find blessings in disguise throughout the cancer treatment process and shares inspirational and encouraging thoughts as often as she can.
Blessings in Disguise.  Really??
UsingEnglish.com offers this definition: If some bad luck or misfortune ultimately results in something positive, it’s a blessing in disguise.

A fellow cancer patient and new friend wrote a blog post last week stating that she didn’t quite get the whole blessings in disguise thing.  She’s heard it mentioned in various places, but just didn’t quite understand if they were blessings, why do they have to be disguised.  Good question, no?  Why can’t we just receive blessings, no strings attached or trials involved?

She certainly doesn’t feel like her cancer is a blessing at all and who can blame her!  Fearing for your life, chemo that makes you very sick, losing your hair – none of those things remotely resemble what any of us would consider blessings at all.

This was my response to her:

I don’t think the cancer, itself, is a blessing, but my experience has been that I have received many blessings because of having cancer. Many of these blessings are things I would have never experienced were it not for having cancer such as the love and care of friends, the fresh eyes that I am now seeing my life through, and the way the diagnosis has created an even stronger bond between my husband and myself. The cancer is mean, harsh, and destructive, but I am determined that it will not drag me down to its level. I’m trying hard to focus on the best parts of it and think as little as possible about the negative side. I think the blessings aspect of having cancer is easier to accept the farther away we get from diagnosis. On day one, there was too much shock, too much fear and too many tears to even think about blessings. Nine months into this, I’m able to have a better perspective on the whole thing. Hope you are doing well today and feeling strong!

I can see where she’s coming from because we tend to think (and would LOVE for) blessings to be awesome, wonderful, and all full of happiness and light.  But that’s not necessarily going to the be the case all the time.  We may receive straight out blessings in our lives that did not require us to go through a any sort of trial before hand, but there are definitely going to be trials, struggles, hardships, and turmoil that may ultimately result in blessings.

Whether we have cancer or not, I think it has a lot to do with perspective because God is placing blessings in our path – we just have to recognize them for what they are.  And sometimes – often in fact – they are not always recognizable as such until after the fact.

Cancer itself is not a blessing, it’s a nasty disease that robs people of everything from their hair to their dignity and sometimes, ultimately, their life on earth.  So, no, cancer is not a blessing.  But because of cancer, I have been blessed in more ways than I can count, and here are some of the biggies:

  1. My love and respect for my husband has been multiplied by 1,000 as I watch him love and care for me through this.
  2. I see life through different eyes.  Not bitter eyes, but grateful eyes.  Every moment with family, every sunrise, even every tiny daily annoyance is a gift to be appreciated.
  3. Cancer is a motivator.  It is propelling me to do and try some things I would have never done or tried before (like blogging for one).
  4. People have reached out to me, shared their hearts with me, and shown me how much they love me because of cancer.  WHAT a gift – and a blessing – that has been.
Choosing to see cancer as a blessing in disguise is a choice.  I can choose to be bitter, angry, and sorry for myself or I can choose to look for the good that is taking place, to find those little nuggets of joy in the every day, and to be grateful for all of it.

Whether your trial is cancer or illness, a job loss, a house that won’t sell, a rebellious child, or an annoying co-worker, I hope that you will take some time to step back and look for some of the blessings that may be hidden in these difficulties.  Be open to receiving them.  You may be surprised what you find!

♥ Rachel

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10 thoughts on “Guest Post

  1. Congrats on your guest post, Rachel! Good choice, Flo, as I love Rachel’s positive attitude and meaningful messages. ….I think I found you through her blog, so there was one “blessing” in itself! 🙂

  2. Thanks, Susan, and I look forward to posting your guest blog next week!

    Rachel, your post was so well written and inspiring. I totally agree with your point of view. When we first get diagnosed, none of us say, “Oh cool, I got cancer. What a BLESSING!” I had a few choice words, but “blessing” was not one of them. As time has passed however, I have come to see the “perks of having cancer”, and the gifts that it brings. NO, cancer itself is not a gift, but it certainly has brought with it many blessings for me. As ironic as it sounds, this is one of the happiest times I have ever been in my entire life!

    • Flo – THANK YOU so much for allowing me to be a guest writer on your blog! Like you said, you and I are kindred spirits. We are NOT going to let cancer define us, rather we are going to define ourselves in a positive way in spite of having cancer. I completely agree with you about the happiness because I am experiencing the same thing. I think having cancer opens our eyes to the beauty that is around us – that we were too busy or too distracted to notice before. Thanks, again! You are wonderful!!

  3. Great post, I think having cancer allows us to make the changes we need to make…be it a rotten job, relationship, diet, whatever….our newly empowered selves can heal body and soul and to truly embrace life, not just “get through it”. It also helps us to appreciate the good that we have, and embrace and nurture that too.

    • I love that what you said, Elyn – we don’t want to just get through it, we want to be better for having gone through it. I think cancer gives us the freedom to do a lot of things we might not have done before.

  4. Thanks, Rachel for this wonderful post. It speaks directly to my heart. You explained “blessing in disguise” as it relates to cancer well. The very reason I did not use it is because I felt the same way as others. (What’s the blessing? The cancer?).

    I will be checking your personal blog.

  5. Thanks so much, Carina! I’ll admit – I didn’t see it as a blessing at first. I was too stunned and shocked. It took a while for the concept that I had cancer to settle on me so that I could see through the fog of confusion and begin to recognize the gifts that were being placed before me. Much like Flo’s perks of cancer, there are a lot of blessings that come with a cancer diagnosis – we just have to be open to seeing them.

  6. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  7. Pingback: [Guest Post] by Florence from Perks of Cancer « Blessings in Disguise

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