Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A "Second Life" Beyond Cancer

There is a poignant feature in today's New York Times about survivors of cancer. In addition to an article by Katherine Russell Rich who has survived Stage 4 breast cancer for 17 years, there is a wonderful photo gallery. Here's the link: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/08/picture-your-life-after-cancer/

Many of these survivors view their life in two phases: BC (before cancer) and AC (after cancer). A theme running through many comments is that a survivor of cancer has a "second life." The image of the phoenix above symbolizes this new life.

There is an undercurrent of gratitude for life reflected in several comments. Jennifer McLaughlin Cassidy wrote, "Little things mean a whole lot more...Post-cancer, things have changed. I'm truly experiencing life-- not just living it."

Yodi Collins wrote, "I died of cancer in 2004, and via a meticulous chemotherapy regimen was reborn six months later, in 2005, into something remarkable. I have spent the past five years since then celebrating that giddy spring day. Today I am love and hope and joy and wisdom and strength."

Linnea Duff wrote, "As someone with a terminal illness, I am acutely aware of what a gift each and every day is, and I have learned to focus on the simple wonders of being alive."

These stories of hope, gratitude and courage are inspiring. They help me realize what an amazing gift life is. I don't believe you need to survive cancer to realize this, but facing death has a way of deepening your appreciation of the wonders of life.

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