There is no doubt about it, cancer changes everything. From the very first time you hear that you have, it your whole world is turned upside down.

Cancer has changed the way I smell; the way I hear; the way I see; and the way I experience sensations. Cancer can even be painful, but not in the way you might think.

From the very first day I heard that I have cancer, I changed. As an example: the last 7 years that I have written this column, I have typed it on an iPad ( a tiny mini computer with limited functions). I have always wanted a full-size laptop Mac computer, but never bought myself one. Then, that night I did it! I went online and I invested in myself, buying the computer I have always wanted. And now, for the very first time, only 24 hours after cancer surgery, I am typing my column on it.

Example keep coming…

When the house gets messy, it no longer means that we are slobs. It means we are too busy living life to worry about dusting.

When an antique car is broke down and on jack stands in our drive way, it does not make me feel like we look like the Beverly Hillbilly’s anymore. It makes me feel like my

 husband is living out his dream of working on the kind of cars he loves, the way his dad and he did when he was growing up.

When friends say let’s get together, I no longer turn them down because I am too busy or too tired. I embrace the invitation and soak up every enjoyable minute of connecting with others, unless it is where mosquitoes are. Those blood suckers love me.

What changes…

Honestly, my life, due to the nature of my work, is very social, but being social and sharing intimate friendships with others is not the same thing. One-on-one time with people connects us to others and ourselves in ways that makes us closer to God. In fact, I believe that anything that separates us from each other separates us from God —i.e., politics and mosquitoes.

The grass is greener, the flowers are sweeter and the food is better. Speaking of food, that is another thing that changes. No longer am I mindlessly eating garbage food that does not nourish my body. I am investing in my health with local grass fed meats and organic vegetables, the way God intended. And if I do decide to splurge on a Twinkie, I will savor every little bite and not scarf it down while running out the door. It’s about nourishing your body and feeding your soul. No guilt; no depravation; just pure enjoyment.

 As I mentioned earlier, I am 24 hours post-op from surgery to remove the cancer and some lymph nodes under my arm, and even pain is different. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the things they have to do to you on this cancer journey in painful, but, by God, I am alive! And even now as I type, the incision under my arm hurts. But, with every twinge I feel, I thank God that I am here to feel it.

I know the scars will not be pretty. Right now they are unseen under bandages. But I will embrace them with happiness because they will be there as my constant reminder to embrace every moment. My scars might just be the most beautiful thing about me.

Who has changed…

One last thing. People. People have changed. I have received an out pouring of more love than any one person deserves. Everyone has been calling, texting, and posting on social media, extending good wishes and help anyway I might need it. I received everything from a homemade pillow to hold for the drive home, to special compression bras for after surgery and recovery. There is literally nothing I need for. Thanks to the love and support shown to me.

In fact, I have only cried three times during this whole journey. The day I found out I had cancer. The day they called me to set up a years worth of follow up MRI’s and mammograms because I will forever be a cancer patient.

 And the day of my surgery. Not because I was fearful, but because I was loved.

My husband was sitting by my side waiting with me with our phones blowing up with calls and texts of support when a single picture from work popped up on my phone. Everyone from work was dressed in pink and gathered together in support of me. It is too emotional for me to even think about right now, but the love was just pouring over me.

Cancer has changed people. It has brought the best of what humanity has to offer out in everyone. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think people changed. People as a whole have always been good. I think I have changed. Cancer changed me. It has brought out the best in me.

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright bright sunshiny day.” – Johnny Nash

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