A Cancer Diagnosis Changes How We View the Past in the Present

In my desire to make improvements to my life for the future after my cancer diagnosis, I realized that in order to move forward I not only had to lay out the plans for where I wanted to go but I also needed to assess where I had been. Where I am in my life is an accumulation of thousands and thousands of experiences that I have had in the past. Those experiences have brought me to this moment and have framed my dreams for the future. However, unless I am willing to face the past in an honest way, I will not be able to achieve the success in the future that I desire.

I have four major segments to my life defined by my family as I grew up, my domestic abusive relationship, my marriage to the love of my life and my cancer. I am very fortunate to have reached this point in my life where I can successfully incorporate what I have learned about each of these parts of my life.

Because of the family that I had, I have learned how to respect others, be kind to others, work together with others regardless of our very separate personalities and how to resolve problems by thinking things through and having the courage of my convictions and a belief in myself to know how to best achieve a successful conclusion. I am not saying that everything in our family was perfect but I know that my parents sacrificed for their children, taught us how to use the assets that we had as individuals to achieve success and most importantly, how to be responsible for ourselves and our actions. With these life lessons, I know that a person can achieve anything and I will be forever grateful for having parents who showed us the way.

In my domestic abuse situation, I suffered physical and mental abuse on a daily basis. I did this for 10 years. While I have chosen to either forget or release most of this portion of my past, I realize that I learned so much from that time. I learned to depend upon myself for everything in life. I learned not to believe everything that someone else says about you and to remove yourself from any negative situation in life as quickly as you can after careful planning before execution. I learned that others, including abusers, have problems with which I am not capable to deal and that no matter how hard I try, I can't change the behavior of another person.

I have met and married the most perfect person for me. I finally know what it means to have someone who loves me for who I am. I have learned that as a team, we can do anything. I am fortunate to have found someone in whom I have complete and absolute trust and who knows that he has found someone in whom he can trust fully. I am fortunate to have as my partner a person who is also my best friend, my ally and my staunchest supporter.

Then along came the cancer. I suppose based upon my past, I never viewed it as something that was life threatening. Each step of the way, my question was what do we do next and moved through my cancer surgeries and treatments with my partner right by my side each step of the way. I reached in my own mind what I believe was its cause and I moved on from there. Most importantly, I learned that I needed to have an outlet for my thoughts and fears and concerns which has become my writing. But surprisingly, I found that as I shared my own experiences, there were others who found the permission to do the same with their experiences and we have all been helped by doing so and have helped each other in this way.

I realize that at this point, I have found myself, and my future. I understand the part each of the major segments has played in my life and the person that I am. I know that as I move forward, there isn't anything that I can't achieve but I also know that I need the right people to help me reach my goals and that starts with my husband who has been the single biggest helper in getting me to the point where I am. I know that the teamwork that we have established is what allows each of us to individually go for what we want in life. And I know that if I hadn't been able to look at the past in an honest manner and understand those parts from which I learned positive lessons, I would never have been able to envision the future for which I have been training all of my life.

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