I am not about to suggest that cancer or other life-threatening illnesses are gifts, rather I think that they provide opportunities and insights you would not normally have. There are advantages to having blinders for every day life--the fantasy that keeps awareness of our mortality at bay, ripped away by a cancer diagnosis. Everyone goes down life's path toward death. Some arrive there sooner than others. Some live better lives because they recognize the limitations that life brings. Cancer can provide people with the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of their lives, to renew their commitments, to grow in ways never expected and to have time to repair relationships.
I've realized that many of the big things in life are out of my control. I may not be able to prevent my agency from closing in the future or cancer from striking, but I can control my responses to such events. And there are many little things in life I can control: taking time with my loved ones, watching the passing clouds on a warm summer day, or going to my daughter's track meet. I can embrace small pleasures, pace myself and not "sweat the small stuff.” I can find humor wherever possible. No point in living, no matter how long, if I can’t find laughter and joy in every day.