Counting Our Blessings With Cancer

September 6, 2019
Jane Biehl Ph.D.
Jane Biehl Ph.D.
Jane Biehl Ph.D.

Jane is a ten-year survivor of a very rare form of cancer Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She has enjoyed several exciting careers including a librarian, counselor, teacher, and writer. She loves to write about surviving cancer, overcoming hearing loss, and her hearing ear service dog, Sita.

Cancer survivors become experts at counting their blessings!

One of the words I read constantly in the articles published by CURE is “blessings.” I also hear it frequently during church services and from friends and family.

Samuel Johnson once said, “Of the blessings set before you; make your choice and be content.” WOW!

I find it no accident that people who are positive and talk about blessings appear to be happier. I cannot ever judge another person’s happiness, since we are all actors and actresses on a stage of life. Some people are just putting on a good face. However, when I look at people whose faces shine and make me feel good, I am pretty sure they are happy and counting their blessings.

Some are rich, some are poor, some are old, some are young, some are sick, and some are well. They don’t often complain. Everyone, of course, has bad days, but these people seem to have more good times than bad.

It is not that they have had great lives, or everything has been wonderful. Like Samuel Johnson said, every one of us makes a choice. If we live long enough, inevitably we suffer illness, loss of friends and family, lost dreams, financial hits and just plain everyday stresses of life.

Life is never easy. But the people who seem to have a smile on their faces look at the times they feel well, the great events celebrated by friends and family, reconcile their dreams, and know that money does not necessarily bring happiness. They count their blessing starting from getting up in the morning to getting into bed safely at night. Their self-talk consists of thinking positive thoughts like “today I was safe”, “today I could get out of bed and live my life”, or “today I could smell the flowers and appreciate the sun”. And on and on on with good thoughts.

Cancer survivors have learned this the hard way. Now when I wake up, I am thankful for another day that I can climb out of bed and be with friends and family, do my writing and celebrate life. I pray and thank God and the universe for this. I did not always say this before cancer, because I took every day for granted. I do not do that now. We survivors have a new appreciation of Samuel Johnson’s quote. Cancer can be a tough, but effective, teacher.

We can make our choice, count our blessings and celebrate, while knowing that is enough for today — and always!


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