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Andrea

Cancer has made me kinder in a way

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Don't mind me, I may sound delerious :) But I am home alone and thinking and it just hit me, there is so much negativity about cancer in that it disrupts our lives and how sad and miserable we are and how it takes the joy away from special events, etc.

I think one gift that cancer has given me is a partially changed personality. I used to be the type of person who had to be overly generous and please everyone. Now I don't need to please everyone and if someone is not as generous to me, why should I be back to them? So in that way I am not as "nice" as I used to be. And I think some people are seeing that.

Instead, I find that I want to spend my energies being kinder in ways where it can make a difference. I can honestly say that a year ago if I was asked to go to Beverly Hills an hour away on Sunday morning for a bone marrow drive I may not have done it unless I also wanted to go shopping. I would probably have said my weekend was so busy, I need to sleep in. I know that is horrible, but I admit it, I most likely would not have went. Now, I am like "oh goody, I can't wait, what can I do to help, how can I encourage others to do something as simple as get on a bone marrow donor list" and I am just as excited about the drive on Sunday as I am about behind home plate tickets to the Angels game tomorrow :)

So maybe there is a reason for this horrible disease in my life. Maybe it was meant to teach me what is important and to touch my life and just change who I am. It also teaches me not to sweat the small stuff anymore and to take joy in each moment.

And like Karen said in response to Dean's post, it is WIERD how much we care about each other, yet I am sure we all wish we did not have to know each other, yet we are happy that we know each other.

Not sure if I made sense, but just felt like sharing. :)

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Andrea,

I think you make perfect sense! It seems to me that having a loved one with cancer changes each of us. Maybe it doesn't change us all in the same ways, but it's such a huge thing in our lives that it does changes our whole lives. Hopefully some of those changes, at least, are good ones -- We become kinder people, we become more patient with people's faults (people who have nothing to do with cancer, even), we get more impatient for change or making things better, we get a new perspective on what's important in life and what's really "small stuff," we learn a little bit more about what love really is... and more. Oh, and we meet people we never would have met, and each of them changes us, too. The people here have made me a better person, that's for sure.

BeckyCW

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Andrea,

That was far, far from delirious. What you said was heartfelt and wonderful.

Many of us have been just like you. In our teens, twenties, and even our thirties, we pretty much lived for ourselves, for the next good time, what our next purchase will be, etc. When we have kids, there is usually a shift of our attention to our kids rather than ourselves, but still that outward reaching to the rest of the world and the pain and suffering in the world is left for others to worry about.

Somewhere along the way we look beyond on our families and our eyes are opened to what is going on around us and a desire to do what we can to help. I have a passion for the elderly in nursing homes. I didn't have this passion until my grandmother was in a nursing home. At that time my eyes were opened to the sadness and loneliness of these wonderful people. Some are incompetent, but most aren't. Many of them are either alone in the world or family and friends don't take the time to visit them. They love to get a flower, a hug, a smile and a hello.

Anyway, it's refreshing to hear that you have the compassion that you do. You are a beautiful woman and God loves you.

Love,

Peggy

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I know that cancer has made me a better man. I am more centered spiritually; I am more in control of my temper; I am more grateful for the blessings in my life, and so on and so on. I paid too high a price for these improvements, but at least it is something, I guess. So I understand what you are talking about, at least from the perspective of a caregiver. There is no way two years ago I would have subjected myself to the struggles of a group like this. Now I am powerless to resist.

Curtis

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Not very long after John was diagnosed a young mom down the street was diagnosed with Leukemia. I had always wanted to sign up as a bone marrow donor but I had just never made it to a drive. I made it to hers. Now she did not find a donor in the local drive but someone that came to her drive matched two others that were waiting. Later, someone at another drive matched her and she was able to have the transplant.

Am I kinder now? Not sure, but I sure don't let little things bug me and I try hard to be a better person.

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Andrea,

You are one of the most selfless people I know. Rarely do you rant and rave about yourself, only about this dam disease and the people it challenges. I think if anything, this disease has made you a great person. If you werent already before... :lol:

Jamie

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I agree 100%!

Esp the "nice"/"not nice". Through the last weeks of my mother's life I learned that I did not have time to placate people. I didn't have time to wait for incompetency. I was very blunt about what we needed or wanted and I expected it to happen. If it didn't, I let people know. To some extent, that will carry on in my life.

My Mom's cancer did change my life, in more than the obvious ways.

**I learned that I will NEVER be afraid to visit someone who is very ill again. I learned that there are very few "wrong" things to say, that saying nothing is probably the worst thing of all.

**I learned that people WILL help if you ask them. They're waiting, but not knowing quite what to do....most people are honored to help.

**I learned that caring for someone you love is hard work, but that it work with the most amazing payback. The tenderness I shared with my Mom the last few weeks was a gift that I will never lose.

**I learned that death is painful, but can be such a spiritual experience. Someday, I will be ready to share it all....but the last few hours with my Mom were very spiritual.

I'm not quite ready to say that "cancer" made me a better person, but the experience of caring for my Mother made me a better person.....I know, it's a matter of semantics...but I still really hate cancer.

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I think there is a positive, learning side to cancer and other crises. Lucie and I have discussed that our love is deeper now, though we would not have believed that could happen, and our love spills out to others. I have learned to be more patient but persevering -- not get angry so easily, but respond in more constructive ways. And, mainly, I have been able to do things, endure things, that I would not have thought I could be capable of, praise God. Yes, I believe there are lessons and positive sides to this ordeal.

"Love bears zll things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." I Corinthians 13:7.

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Cancer in my life has made me appreciate my good health, and try to maintain it. It has made me a stronger person, more than I ever dreamed I could be. I didn't know that I loved my husband so much and now that he is gone, I realize just what a gift he was to me from God. WE both always felt that God brought us together and he also said many times how much he loved me and appreciated me. So in the final days of his life I just tried to be the most caring, giving and loving person I could be for him.

Cancer has also made me more aware of how unfair life can be for us here on earth and that happiness is not guaranteed to anyone. So I am a more spiritual person who loves deeper,and appreciates anyone and everyone in my life, and I am much closer to God and my Lord Jesus! Jesus is the treasure within us. Our limitations make us more aware of his love, our poverty of his riches, our weaknesses, of his strength, and our needs of his supply! :)

Tess

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To me this is such a powerful post. I have always been a giving person and always tried to never hurt others. I have also always been a listening ear to anyone that needed to talk. I am not sure exactly how I have changed but I definantly know I have. My Brothers dx and death were and still are very hard on me. I guess if I were to say who said it best it would be Curtis. When I read his post I thought Wow!! Thats exactly how I feel. Cancer will always be a part of me now and I will never be able to let that go. It's strange to sit here and type and know that it has changed me in so many ways but not be able to say exactly how. I dont often have to look for words but I had to post here, yet am having trouble. I love all of you and the compassion I have for each and every one of you is overwhelming to me at times. I guess thats why the recent deaths have hurt so very deeply. I want to help in any way I can and I try to at every opportunity.

I guess I am rambling and not saying very much but cancer has changed me forever.

God Bless each and every one of you,

Jane

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I think my dads illness/his death, changed every fiber in my being. I would barely recognize myself if I were to compare my "before LC touched my life"-self to the "me" of today.

In fact, after my dad died and the caregiving abruptly stopped.....I had to find a new way to relate to others around me and to get to know myself, and get to know them again...all I had know for every second of everyday was LC and dad's illness, stress, worry, sadness, anger, grief.....

I am glad that the changes that occured in my soul were positive. I have patience and empathy and a sensitivity that scares me at times. I have the drive to work and try to make a difference in all aspects of my life. I want nothing more in my personal life than to be at peace and to be happy- the job, car, material things,social status- all meaningless to me the minute LC entered our lives.

I am tired alot these days...and to be truthful...I think at times I mourn my "old" life (I'm not talking about grieving my dads death...that is a whole other passage I am still going thru) but the missing of the "me" of before. The carefree times, the selfish times, the days when life was simply wonderful and my biggest problem was something superficial, the days before I ever knew a thing about LC. I miss those days...and that person, that Katie, was someone else entirely. Someone who smiled and laughed and didn't really worry about anything important.

Don't know what I am trying to say...just wanted to say that I understand completely. I am glad I am who I am and that I now know all of you--just wish it never had to be.

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Ditto to you Karen (and not just because you're my sister!) This is a sentiment I have often felt and expressed (regarding the "old" me) . But how could we appreciate a life we didn't know was going to change so dramatically and so suddenly? We were blissfully ignorant of such emotional pain. Geeze, it was nice. I bet Mum liked it better then too :)

Jana

xxxx

For the record Karen, the "new" you is pretty fine too.

xx

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Ya know, I've thought about this post for a while...and I've posted before that I miss the "old me"...

BUT, when it gets right down to it, I don't think I've changed much (deep down) from the person I was before all this crap came crushing down on me. Yes, I suffer from "anxiety" around test time. Yes, I actually think about Death now... Yes, I try to spend more time with Nature..

But the basic core of my being, the little voice that makes me keep on keeping on, hasn't changed. There are things I do because I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to do them again, but my way of thinking and my personality are pretty much the same.

I have changed on the OUTSIDE, but inside, I'm STILL the "same old me". My biggest change in "me" came when I had my son. Suddenly, it all wasn't about ME, it was about HIM...and that hasn't changed. I'm still worried about what will happen to HIM if something happens to ME.

I guess I'm just naturally grouchy...go figure! :roll:

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I agree Becky - I don't think I'm a fundamentally different person, although I do think that in some ways I've become more selfish, and in other ways I've become more giving. What I meant was that I miss the times when the biggest worry I had was whether I could find a job that I really liked, or whether there was enough money in the bank to do some work on the house. I'm TIRED of cancer being the predominant thought in my head at any given moment of the day. I know this is the 'new normal' - I'm just not very happy about it!! But then again, as Fay A has said several times, the reason it hurts so much is because we love so much - and I wouldn't change that for anything.

Karen

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This has been a very interesting topic! For me there have been many many changes. Mostly in how I look at myself. I am the first one to give anyone the benefit of the doubt and I look for the best in every one. I am not naive, I watch for the parasites, but I think the best before the worst. Except for 1 person. Myself, I never give myself the benefit of the doubt , I beat up on myself and drive myself and call myself nasty things and in general have always sabotaged my life. I am always surprised when people tell me I am wonderful and wonder what they see that I don't. Maybe that is the gift that cancer has given me. I am not kinder to others, I am kinder to myself.

Plus I was one of those never sick people up until this and I miss that badly of course.

Blessings

Betty

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