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Gratitude: A Greater Understanding of Cancer's Impact on Who I Am

Apreciating all the positives amongst the disease of cancer
Thank you are two words that are not often spoken in direct reference to cancer. We say it to nurses, doctors, caregivers, family and friends that support us, but it isn’t a phrase that we say to cancer. No, I am obviously not grateful for everything that cancer has done and changed. That is not to say that zero gratitude exists. Despite all the bad, I still want to say a “thank you” to cancer. Through everything, I can now see the chain reaction that cancer initially began, that has changed my life for the better.

I’m not sure that people reading this are going to agree because everyone’s experience with cancer is different. To be honest, I think my sister would say very differently than me on this matter. The truth is, when I take all that cancer meant in my life in, I’m grateful. It’s through its occurrence that I met my fiancé, and that I have countless supporters and friends who cheer me on in all that I do. I write for CURE, volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and I’m a nursing student because of cancer.

I have learned so much about compassion, the caring nature of humanity and the kindness of the human soul. I have practiced empathy and seen unimaginable things through cancer. I have been given absolutely insane possibilities that I never dreamt possible before that July day when my sister was diagnosed. I’ve met incredible people that are true warriors, who touched my heart in so many ways.

I have learned things through cancer that have applied to multiple areas in my life. I have learned to research and have become educated in a field that I knew nothing about. I discovered a passion deep within myself that I never knew existed. I have been shown that science is ever-changing and medicine it always improving. Through what I have witnessed with not just my sister, but other patients too, that there can always be hope even in the face of so much darkness.

Long before I chose the field of oncology, cancer made me practice communication skills and tested my patience. I saw a whole other side to the medical field that I had often been exposed to in my life, but never in such a raw and in-depth manner as cancer did. I saw the enduring strength and commitment of nurses, medical technicians and doctors. All in a jointed effort to treat, palliate and cure every patient that they met.

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
Kim is a nursing student who is hoping to find her place amongst the phenomenal oncology nurses and doctors who cared for her sister. She loves reading, volunteering and enjoying the outdoors of Colorado.
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