40 Lessons I Learned in 2011

11 Jan

Yesterday was a 6 or a 7, so I’m definitely making positive progress.  The nausea is less and I made it to 3:00 before hitting the wall of fatigue.  Yay!!  Today, I’m hoping for something in the 7-8 range.  That would make a pretty good day!

2011 was chock full of life lessons, most of which I did not want to learn the way I had to learn them.  :)  I’ve seen several people (some cancer patients, some not) write recently about what they learned in 2011 and thought it would be a good exercise for me to do the same.  Maybe this list will entertain you.  Maybe it will make you stop and reflect, like it did me.  Maybe you’ll see just how warped I really am.  :)  Maybe you will learn from my experience and not wait until tragedy or illness strikes before you start to appreciate the good things around you.

Lessons from 2011

Source: ThinkStockPhotos.com

  1. I learned that for 42 years I gave very little thought to my health, naively assuming I would always have it.  It’s the old adage, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.  I should probably cut myself some slack for the first 5-10 years because who really thinks about their health when they’re a kid??
  2. I learned that contrary to my previously held beliefs, riding a bike for 12 miles on hilly terrain would, in fact, NOT kill me, even though it felt like it at the time.
  3. I learned family is a precious gift and time with them should be cherished.
  4. I learned hearts that feel like they are completely broken in two actually will continue to beat minute after minute.
  5. I learned time can both fly and crawl at the exact same time.  2011 flew by, but at the very same time it felt like life was going in slow motion.  Strange.
  6. I learned that patience is a virtue of which I have limited resources, but of which I was required to produce large amounts of it at times.
  7. I learned there is truth to the cliche that being diagnosed with cancer (or another serious illness) changes your perspective.
  8. I learned, as Martina McBride sings in I’ll Love You Through It, “cancer don’t discriminate.”
  9. I learned that aggressive forms of lymphoma are usually curable while slow-growing forms are typically not.  Go figure.
  10. I learned chemotherapy side-effects are both better and worse than I imagined they would be.
  11. I learned in the midst of the hardest year of my life, that God sent countless blessings to me in the form of people who have prayed, encouraged, and supported me, Barry and the rest of our family.
  12. I learned the bond between sisters only gets stronger when grief, fear, and uncertainty are involved.
  13. I learned that even on my very worst day, there are MANY people suffering physical ailments worse than mine, including, my sister’s sweet neighbor, Ginny.
  14. I learned when you are diagnosed with cancer, you immediately become a medical student and learn more than you ever thought possible about the disease.
  15. I learned that oncologists are very special doctors and that I am blessed to have one of the best.
  16. I learned that life-long friends are perfectly planned GIFTS from God and new friends are sweet blessings.
  17. I learned the kindness of family and friends can put a smile on your face even on the hardest days.
  18. I learned that Pinterest is addictive, and fun, and full of ideas, and can actually make time disappear because what feels like 30 minutes turns out to be two hours spent “pinning” things.  ha ha!
  19. I learned that a sense of humor is absolutely essential when coping with cancer.
  20. I learned that the phrase, “I have cancer, people!” is a great excuse for not doing things and makes my co-workers laugh.  ha ha!!  Love you guys!
  21. I learned that you truly have no idea how much your husband loves you until you have to face something like cancer together.
  22. I learned that finding out your youngest daughter has cancer and then losing your beloved son-in-law five days later grieved my parents in ways I’ve never seen before, but God held them up and is still holding them close.
  23. I learned that my heart could hurt so much for my sister, nephews, and nieces when they lost their husband and father that it felt like actual, physical pain.
  24. I learned that I miss riding bikes and am looking forward to getting back out there again with my husband (did I just say that????) so that he can torture push me to excel some more.  :)
  25. I learned the cancer patients I’ve encountered are not sick, bitter, tired, hopeless people, but are, instead, true sources of light, encouragement, and inspiration.
  26. I learned there are words such as cancer, partial remission, incurable, chemotherapy, lymphoma that should be eradicated from our lives.  We have to keep fighting and funding research.
  27. I learned that you can be sick inside and not even know it, so pay attention to the small things because they may end up being big things.
  28. I learned that port-a-caths are a very good thing.
  29. I learned that oncology nurses are some of the sweetest, most wonderful nurses in the world.
  30. I learned that tears and smiles can reside in the same heart at the same time.
  31. I learned that grief and fear are interesting bedfellows; they don’t much like each other and tend to fight for your attention.
  32. I learned that physical activity is a gift, not a punishment or a necessity or something “I have to do but really don’t want to do.”  It’s a gift.
  33. I learned that what seemed at first to be Pumpkin loving me and laying beside me when I didn’t feel good was really his attempt at stealing the soft fuzzy blanket from me.  “I have cancer” means nothing to him.  :)
  34. I learned that life goes on and the world doesn’t stop just because I have cancer.
  35. I learned that time doesn’t make itself – you have to set aside time for the things/people who are important to you.
  36. I learned that I have a choice to be bitter or better because of my diagnosis.  Bitter helps no one; better helps me AND others.
  37. I learned that life is awful and beautiful and challenging and painful and wonderful and sad and a precious gift.
  38. I learned that happiness is not a destination or some goal I’m trying to achieve, it’s a daily action.
  39. I learned that God is good – not just when times are good – but all the time.
  40. I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was.

♥ Rachel

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5 Responses to “40 Lessons I Learned in 2011”

  1. IamSimplyTia January 11, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    These are all beautiful lessons!

    *Hugs*

  2. Jennifer January 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    W-O-W! Just wow! That left me speechless. Can you hear me applauding and crying at the same time?

    I love you so much my little baby sister.

    Jennifer

    • rachturner January 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      Jenn- You’re so easily impressed. ha ha! Thank you. I can see you in my mind applauding and crying. You are so precious to me.

      • Jennifer January 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

        They were hard to get through…
        I love you!
        Jenn

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