What If I Never Had Cancer?

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Without a cancer diagnosis, would I have

Cancer is a life-changing marathon. It is not a sprint. Sometimes I close my eyes and try to think about what my life would be right now without cancer. What if it hadn’t happened, I say to myself. How would I feel now? What would be different? Would I have “hit it big time?”

I had just released my book “Clutter Clearing Choices” and was in the process of helping the publisher and publicist get review copies sent and doing the radio, television and print media interviews that were coming in. I believed my book was helping people, and it appeared to be well received.

Then came the phone call. Instead of helping market my book, I was going through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer.

Maybe most of us have a point in life where we wished we had taken a right rather than a left at the Y in the road—if only we could have, would have or should have. For me, it was a television interview on “View from the Bay” with Spencer Christian from Good Morning America and Janelle Wang. It would have aired live right before “Oprah.” Instead, I had to stay home and deal with cancer. Other opportunities were lost that summer and fall, too.

Could I blame cancer for my failure to hit it really big? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it was just meant to be. I journaled and researched a lot to process my cancer experiences. I wished there were more tools to help cancer patients cope with the emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis. There were many days where I hurt more emotionally than physically. I researched and then wrote the book “Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools” to help other cancer patients. It tells of my cancer experiences and offers a variety of ideas to help fellow cancer survivors cope.

I turned it into my publisher, John Hunt Publishing, and my publicist, Ascot Media, and crossed my fingers. After reading the book, my publisher remarked that they now understood why book sales for “Clutter Clearing Choices” had started off so well and then suddenly dropped to a different level. John Hunt Publishing and Ascot Media, though understanding the smaller size audience that a cancer book would draw, still were eager to publish and help promote the second book—my cancer coping book.

I am grateful, but still questioning after all these years and after surviving another type of cancer, a melanoma that came later. Maybe life does have a purpose. If “Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools” has truly helped even one person with cancer, that is more important than helping thousands or millions clear out their closets. I believe that. And some days I still wonder.

What do you wonder would have been different had you not heard the words “You have cancer”? Do you pretend?