“What I learned when I had cancer….”

From a Dragonfly Mom who recently lost her Dragonfly to cancer:

So I recently had read somewhere that Jenna had other writings on her Dell computer. So I fired it up and I found this. I wish I would have half the wisdom and heart that she had.
What I learned when I had cancer….

  • I believe that trials in our lives can teach us if we are willing. This is a list of things I learned, or the truths that really were real for me, when fighting cancer.
  • A respect and value for my life. When faced with my own mortality, I learned how precious each day is. And that life is worth fighting for.
  • That I am loved. So many people made it a priority to help me, encourage me, and pray for me. It meant more than I could ever tell them.
  • A new meaning of confidence, and beauty. This was really a hard lesson. But eventually, with no hair and a surgical mask covering my face, I was able to see the beauty in myself and hold my head high.
  • A respect for all people who help others as a profession; particularly in medicine. I have always respected these people, but when you have to depend on them, it goes to a whole new depth.
  • That God is there, even when your life is shaken. Certain people, special words, even special memories from my past that were brought up were special reminders that even in my pain, my prayers were heard.
  • That all people deserve to have respect, and dignity, despite appearance and walks of life. This is another value I’ve always held, but when you are the person who is always stared at, you become desperate to be treated normally.
  • That family is so, so important. My family was with me almost every day of my journey, always helped me, and always comforted me. I can never thank them enough.
  • Never surrender a God-given dream. My dream is to become a missionary, but this illness sometimes made it seem impossible. But God has plans for my life, and I was given many reminders of that.
  • To face my fears. I couldn’t do it alone, but I learned to face a lot of my fear. Even if I had to act silly to do it (yes, I acted like a dinosaur at times. Literally.)
    That in the midst of sadness, of fear, of hard times, how important it is to still worship. Sometimes, being able to sing and cry out to God helped me keep going. The songs I sang became much more real then.
  • To appreciate the small things. When you can’t do certain activities, you learn to find joy where you are. Playing a game with my parents, painting outside, and walks were things that made my days so much more enjoyable.
  • That, on the other hand, certain things aren’t worth getting upset about. Basically, I learned perspective. I learned what was important to me, and what I could let go.
  • To appreciate small acts of kindness. From best friends to complete strangers in a hospital, I was often the receiver of kindness, and a few times able to share a smile. And some days, it meant the world.
  • That it’s okay if you need to cry or be afraid sometimes. When I was diagnosed, I had a hard time processing what was happening and responding to it. But I’ve learned that it’s okay to cry; as long as you move forward from that moment.
  • That I am stronger, and more courageous, than I ever knew.