I believe that cancer heals. I do not mean this in a physical sense, but in an emotional and mental sense. In today’s world the words “cancer heals,” seem almost oxy-moronic. Almost everyone in the world has met some who survived, suffered, or died from cancer. Although the person with cancer may see cancer as a curse, a mental and emotional part of their body is being healed. Cancer also heals the people around you.
Cancer can heal a community. Being from a small community where “everybody knows everybody,” I have seen this first hand. When I was in second or third grade, a girl in our high school died of cancer. She had been fighting the cancer for a long time, and almost everyone knew she would soon die. In going to her funeral, I saw the whole community coming together to support the girl’s family. It did not matter who didn’t like who or what anyone was wearing. All of the superficial feelings people had flew out the window. Even though our community had lost a young woman, they gained so much in strength and character.
Families and communities can be healed by cancer. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, they reassess their life. This is what happened to my uncle. This past year, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Most people in our family did not think he was going to make it for another year. My uncle, knowing he did not have much of a chance of living, began to make amends with his seven brothers and sisters. At our recent family Christmas party, everyone was able to talk to him and be civil to each other. There were none of the usual arguments that have been carried on for years. Everyone was just glad to see that my uncle was doing well. Cancer made my uncle value what was truly important to him.
This July, my mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Although she was not terminal and the doctor said “this was the best kind of cancer to get,” she learned to value what was important to her. She found that the most important thing was her family. Before my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she was almost never home. She was usually trying to do something for someone else. Through her battle against cancer, she evolved into someone that is able to say “no” to something she does not want to do or does not have time to do. By being able to do this, she is able to spend more time with our family and is happier from that.
Cancer is one of the most destructive things in today’s world. All the physical hurting is overcome by the growth of individuals with cancer and the people around them. In short, cancer heals.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.