BC as a GIFT?

cookiewookie Member Posts: 11
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi all. Have any of you had someone say that being diagnosed with breast cancer has been a gift? This happened to me on a yahoo breast cancer group e-mail. I responded that if this was a gift I'd give it back and I just couldnt understand how anyone could think that way. So ok, I was chastised BIG TIME for supposedly not respecting someone else's e-mail and I only meant my response as an opinion and then all of a sudden there's an argument going on which I certainly didn't think was the case.
............ any thoughts on this?


  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    I have heard of someone calling it a gift in the sense that it forced some changes in attitude and behaviors which the person considers a change for the better. I have also heard many people express opinions to the effect that they cannot possibly see anything but negatives with anything associated with it, nor do they think anyone else should. I think each person on the planet, survivors or not, has his or her own personal reaction to cancer. It is a big deal and it affects nearly everyone in some way or other, so it is natural that we all have strong opinions about it. I would not say that it is a gift for me, but I do believe that God can use the experience that myself and my family are going through for good, even though it is NOT a good experience. Some of the good that has come from my experience so far is: ---I appreciate small blessings much more now---I am calmer and don't sweat the small stuff as much---I complain less. A significant negative is that I am much less tolerant of what seems to me to be "nit-picking" or whining from others (inclluding my family).

    I don't know if it helps, but that's my two cents worth.

  • SweetSue
    SweetSue Member Posts: 217
    To me it has been a blessing in many ways, but I am 59 and a survivor. I think the younger women may see it differently. Or, gals who are very ill and close to death.
    I just know many of my friends and relatives have been through worse, and I am still alive.
    When I see all the young people losing their lives because of war, I feel lucky.
    I was upset, when someone said to me, "Breast cancer is nothing these days." It is not easy; the diagnosis is traumatic. But after treatment, life goes on. Hopefully, a more meaningful life.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Sheesh~ I am sooo with you on this one! I am 58, and wish I too could return this gift~ it isn't my size, I don't appreciate whoever gave it to me, and I am sure not going to re-gift it to someone else!!!!
    LOL Cookie, I would not lose sleep over being chastised through a group email! My thoughts are, IF I needed to re-connect with people, or learn patience and/or gratefulness, cancer is NOT the best way to show me how. I am one who learns much more through love and kindness, not fear of death. But that's just me! :-)

    For those among us who have learned to stop and smell the roses after being dx~ I admire and applaud you. But I also think that we Cancer Sisters are by no means a "one size fits all" group. So to chastise someone for not thinking of BC ( or any other cancer) as a gift is absurd.
    We have enough on our plates without guilt from anonymous email sources invading our psyches!
  • toninasky
    toninasky Member Posts: 102
  • phoenixrising
    phoenixrising Member Posts: 1,508
    Cookiewookie, Your feelings and opinion are just as valid as the next persons. I can't believe you were chastised for expressing how you feel.
    Stuff like that really irates me.....possibly more now than before BC. So I guess it has changed me.

    I'm new at this and haven't much time under my belt so perhaps my opinion will change in the future, but I don't see this as a gift. As a matter of fact, I was a nice person before and may not be quite as nice anymore. I was very spiritual and have been for many many years. I lived to be inspired and to give inspiration through whatever means I could. Usually through art/crafts. But that was before. Since BC, I have felt dead inside in comparison to before and I only hope to feel that life in me again. To get as much out of a sunrise/sunset, flowers, trees, or just about anything based on nature again would be wonderful. I look now and think or know it is beautiful, but something is missing and it falls short. I felt more connected before.

    I think it's good for people to take something negative and make it positive. But sometimes it takes alot of time. We have many things that challenge us and it may be difficult to find the positive esp for those in pain or who are disabled due to their treatment. Add in diminished cognitive skills, memory, concentration and life can be a drag. But it's not for me to say how a person should feel with or without pain or any other malady. I tire of people telling me what I should feel or be.

    For me my life changed drastically and fast. One moment I am (or thought) perfectly healthy with absolutely no risk factors for BC. None of my ancestors has had any type of cancer. I took no medications and in fact have not had a doctor in years. Active, low weight and health conscious. I was the one preaching and informing my family and friends about nutrition, vitamins, supplements and herbs. What amazed everyone is that I never got sick. I work in a hospital and with all the colds and flu's going around I didn't get any.So it's been a huge adjustment as I'm sure it's been for a lot of people. I just wanted to say that life was more of a gift to me before this. And self talking myself into thinking otherwise just hasn't worked....yet.

    It looks like I've done some rambling here and I apologise. I hope something I've said has helped someone out there even if it is only the freedom to feel what they feel and not apologise for it or pretend it's something else.
  • kbc4869
    kbc4869 Member Posts: 159
    I really get irratated when somebody tells me or someone else what we should or should not be feeling about our cancer. While I gain strength many times from our optimistic sisters, I really appreciate the really honest and sometimes more raw posts on this board. That's why I'm here. I can say things here that are too scary and ugly to say to my family and friends.

    No, I'll never consider BC a gift. Of course I am grateful for the things I've learned from having it and the way I've evolved as a woman. There are many days when I feel I can do anything, and I'm grateful for the focus and confidence that this experience has given me. I'm more compassionate than I used to be, and yet harder in many ways. And then there are those days when I look in the mirror or see a young pretty girl without a care in the world and feel angry that I don't look or feel the way I used to. I'll never be that young, naive and pretty "girl" again. She's long gone and sometimes I miss her -- her sense of fun, lack of fear and even being able to take things for granted. There's a real freedom in ignorance. Now I make every day count and that's a good thing, but it's also a lot of pressure when you know that it could all change on a dime.

    So, a gift? Surely not, Cookie. I say SEND IT BACK. I'll take a nice pair of shoes instead . . .
  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member
    Hey CookieWookie,

    I'm sorry you were chastised! What a deal, huh?

    Obviously I'm about to contribute my 15 cents worth on this subject...And if I get chastised, then so be it. Let us all remember that opinions are just that, nothing more, nothing less. If someone can consider their MS to be a blessing or gift, then my only purpose is to help them celebrate it. So, if we can try to peel a few layers into the gift statement, maybe we can unravel a few of the mysteries: LOL

    To be or not to be? BC as a Gift? I'll go ahead and share my thoughts altho, some of the other ladies have done an excellent job of that already:

    Basically, I think someone MAY think it is a gift, if it more or less brought some much needed light into their lives. Perhaps it turned someone away from alcohol/drug abuse, away from a life of anger, resentment, failure and/or disapointment, etc.. Perhaps it led some to a strong religious faith, they perhaps didn't have before bc. Perhaps some may see it as a gift, because it opened their eyes to some things that were out of kilter in their lives. Perhaps it led them to a new, mentally and physically, healthier outlook in their lives. For others it may have lifted them up to the realization they were so much stronger, resourceful, capable and more courageous than they'd ever imagined. Afterwards, they perhaps find themselves better equipped to deal with problems, issues and obstacles which led them to new careers, new partners, new living arrangements, new friends...many possibilities.

    I saw a T-Shirt recently which said: "You can't scare me. I've had Cancer." I had to pause and say "WOW". And you know what? I think that t-shirt sort of tells it like it is for many. So if someone wants to consider it a gift, I'm ok with them doing so. Many, many reasons a person may say that it had been a gift to them. Who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? LOL I admire someone's ability to have that perspective. As long as someone saying that wears it well, is well adjusted and it's a positive for them, then all is well in my book of reasoning.

    Something else I'd consider is that perhaps the person does not mean that the actual surgery, chemo, rads and whatever else they may have had, was really the "gift" part? Maybe they intended to say that having had BC had revealed many gifts to them? If that's the case then I can fully wrap my brain around the thinking. As far as the treatment and all being gifts: I'd say there's just No Way! Unless they're a glutton for pain and punishment of the 3rd kind!!!

    Some of the other ladies have referred to the "blessings" of BC and I honestly don't see a lot of difference between a blessing and a gift. I'm no linguist but I'll say this: Either one is a phenomenal thing to have when you can get them! Just a matter of semantics it seems.

    BC, for me, once I was through tx and realized I wasn't dead and not likely to die soon...that I could stand on my own two feet and was actually still breathing...Well, I discovered quite a few gifts/blessings/treasures in my life, in the months that followed. They were there before and I appreciated them but would never have considered them actual "gifts". I think it's called taking things for granted. Some of my gifts: Some of the amazing ladies I met here and with whom I became good friends. My greater ability, post bc, to live my life "in the moment". To slow down and savor. My appreciation for the fact that everyday, I experience the amazing gift of life here on this lovely little planet of ours. I'm reasonably sane, reasonably fit and reasonably healthy. (Note that I qualified each of those things with the word "reasonable" LOL) I'm more keenly aware of what tremendous gifts my loved ones and friends are in my life. Many, many things for which I'm grateful. I'm more patient and understanding, with others as well as myself. A simple, peaceful walk in the quiet woods by the lake, holding the hand of the one I love most in the world is a gift. I can deeply breathe in the sweet air and feel my heart smile. Yep, that, to me, is a gift. And I make time for appreciating as many of those types of gifts that I can. Others may think it's just a small, ordinary nothing, but to me it's more. My son was 13 when I was dx'd and now he's 19 and in college. Just an ordinary experience for some but for me, it's more. It's a gift. Now does that mean that I NEEDED the drama of BC in my life to get to this perspective I now call mine? Doesn't really matter because I didn't get to choose and I won't split hairs about the BENEFITS of that dramatizing and traumatizing journey. I simply recognize and accept the post bc benefits. All of which has enhanced who I am, what I do and how I think and feel. I am grateful every day for what I can find no other words to describe, other than that they're "gifts/benefits/blessing" of BC. Of course if I tried to tell someone in the throes of tx, that there are benefits to be had from BC, I'd likely get a black eye and I'd also likely desere it! LOL The same could be expected from my saying that to someone who is terminal. But I'd never say that to someone who is terminal because they won't have the opportunity of discovering their own, unique benefits of cancer, post treatment. And if they do, NO ONE will need to tell them about the blessings, benefits and gifts of surviving and thriving. If they are one of the miracles (which are more common all the time) THEY'LL BE TELLING ALL OF US instead and we'll be thrilled to hear every word too! And we'll make a celebration out of their triumph and place them most high on our pedestal of "amazing, graceful and inspirational women we've been blessed to know. All is well with us when all is well with our BC sisters, where ever we go to share, I believe. I honestly believe that and that's why I wouldn't mince words about things like gifts, coming out of cancer experiences. Gifts also come out of many other tragic illnesses, incidents and accidents in life. I think "gifts" can come out of any major battle we must fight. Any struggles we endure. Any pain we must bear. I also think that many who do not survive their cancers' assault on their bodies, still triumph in many other ways. Many have told me of great truths they have discovered/seen, once they expect and accept that the end is near for their time on this Earth. I listen and I believe. And I smile with them. Someone's truth is thier truth and when it's positive and good and reaches far and touches another, it's valuable, no matter what name it goes by. It can be inspiring and it can even lead us to question it, but it is seldom, if ever, just useless information or empty declarations. Just different strokes, cookiewookie. There's truth in many places, so it's all ok. I wouldn't be too upset by the chastising. I'm betting it won't be the last time you may hear that statement, so take it with a grain of salt and try to give it a little space if you can. Perhaps the website you were visiting is just not a website for you, so don't worry about it. You still have us here to share with!

    Well, I can see that I've ranted on here, so better close and go get the clothes out of the dryer! Now there's a gift for us to consider: "Housework as a Gift" anyone???? LOL

    I value each of you and the lessons you teach and the things you bring to this site. Keep teaching and keep bringing ladies! We're all in this together and at the end of the day, most things are really "ok". That includes mistakes, speaking out of turn and I'm REALLY hoping, it also includes those of us who tend to rant! LOL

    My bottom line is that I can appreciate almost any word someone may choose to define their BC experience, as long as they don't begin to define themselves and characterize the sum total of their lives by their BC experience. WE'RE ALL SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!

    Love, light & laughter,
  • whooooop84
    whooooop84 Member Posts: 1
    Cookiewookie - sorry you got blasted just for your opinion!
    And here's my two cents worth:
    All your points are valid - but there's another way to look at this as well. If your having BC causes you to speak about it to others - in your church group, or a book club, or anywhere - and helps educate someone else - who may then go get a mammogram done when she hadn't thought about it before - and was able to have early detection of the BC - then that's a gift. Maybe not to you - but to the person who listened and heeded your warnings. Sometimes gifts are not just to ourselves - but to others as well. Think about the drunk driver who gets in an accident and kills someone - that's not gift to him/her or the person who died - but if the driver then speaks at schools/churches and relates his/her tale and that keeps someone else from doing the same thing - then that's a gift.

    It's my belief that we must all, somehow, find the good in everything. And at times - especially when fighting this beast - it's darn near impossible to find anything good at all. But a positive attitude can help us in ways you couldn't even believe.
  • cookiewookie
    cookiewookie Member Posts: 11
    Thanks all for responding to my e-mail on this. It really helped! I guess the only thing to do is to go on the best one can in dealing with it.
    I do like the t-shirt in one of your e-mails - that's great!
    So thanks again and my best to all of you!