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Grateful for Cancer?

The words cancer and gratitude don’t often appear in the same sentence. Yet, as an oncology nurse, I have witnessed over and over how a cancer diagnosis can have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Not at first, of course. We live in a culture that denies mortality and focuses on material things. We prefer to feel immune to the possibility of a life-threatening illness and ignore the fact that it could happen to us. When it happens to others, we feel sorry, then move on with our lives.

There is a little bit of this mentality in all of us – less in some and a lot more in others.

So it comes as no surprise that many people are stunned by a diagnosis of cancer. It sets off a storm of emotions – fear, stress, anger, denial and more. Whether it happens to you or someone you love, cancer can shatter your life and your hopes for the future.

But when something is shattered, you have a chance to put it back together in new – and often better – ways. I’ve seen this happen time and again. For many, cancer sparks a powerful transition, shifting people’s focus to what matters most. Patients and the people who love them begin to live each day with purpose, meaning and a lot more joy.

As human beings, most of us learn the hard way. We grow through challenges. We expand when we’re tested. We find hope in the hard places and become better through adversity. Our lives change in lasting ways.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said: “The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss and have found their way out of the depths.”

Through my work at The Ghosh Center, I’ve encountered many beautiful people. I’ve been given so much from these relationships and learned from them. And, for this, I am grateful.

– LaNette Faaborg

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