If you are old enough to remember the t.v. program, The 6 Million Dollar Man, you will probably recall the line: “Better than he was before: Better, Stronger, Faster.” When I consider the positive changes that cancer has brought into my life, I can really relate to that line.
Better: I am definitely better than I was before cancer, in many ways. I take much better care of my body. I have learned to better cope with stress. I have also come to realize what is really important in life, and I no longer sweat the small stuff. Most importantly, I have learned to love and approve of myself just as I am.
Stronger: Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.” (Also the title of Kelly Clarkson’s latest hit.) There is nothing like a spar with cancer to prove to yourself how strong you really are. Years ago, if someone had told me that at age 44 I would be divorced, have a child with autism, and be facing cancer, I would have doubted my ability to survive. Cancer made a survivor out of me. It may have weakened my body, but my spirit has never been stronger.
Faster: While I call myself a runner, I have never really been competitive or pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. Cancer changed that. One of the items on my bucket list is to compete in an actual race this spring. I have no expectation of ever winning. (Cancer is the ONLY thing that I have in common with Lance Armstrong.) Although I will not out run most of the competitors, I will do my personal best. I will be faster than I was before.
So here I am, fresh from the battle with cancer and still bearing my battle scars, but feeling like 6 million bucks. After my reconstruction in a year or so, I will also be sporting better boobs than I’ve had in a long time. Better, stronger, faster AND bionic boobs; now that is one of the “perkiest” perks of having cancer.
Tip: Take time to consider the ways that cancer has made a better person out of you.