My Cancer Diagnosis was Serendipitous

Jennifer - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on April 4, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: illness, purpose
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Any situation you are faced with in your life can present itself as an opportunity, a chance to make life better for yourself. If you are fortunate it can allow you to make life better for many people. I believe this is true, I believe that my cancer diagnosis was serendipitous.

Life is so fragile. That realization was manifest in three little words, “You have cancer.” The initial diagnosis was devastating. In one moment I went from having a seemingly normal life to becoming a 29 year old Mother with cancer. After the shock wore off, I began to reevaluate my life. The biggest question I kept asking myself was, “What do you want your legacy to be?” I found that answer in a quotation from British philosopher Bertrand Russell. He stated, “The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”

The first thing I did was reach out to people whose lives have been touched by cancer. I met cancer patients, cancer survivors, and even families who had lost loved ones to the disease. There is something to be said about surrounding yourself with people who truly understand your situation; not only can they sympathize with you but they can truly empathize with you.

Secondly, I educated myself. My Doctor told me that patients that are educated are a powerful force to reckon with. Knowledge is power. I learned all about the cancer I was diagnosed with, from treatments to mortality rates. I wanted to know as much as I could about the cancer that had changed my life. In doing so, the fear that once consumed my entire body had dissipated.

As soon as I recovered from my treatment I focused my attention on educating as many people as I could. So many women procrastinate going in for their annual gynecological exam because it is “embarrassing”, “uncomfortable”, or “not that big of a deal”. Amazingly most gynecological cancers have a high survival rate, especially when treated in their early stages. However, you have to make your health a priority and not an option. Every year women must go in and have their annual gynecological exams. I have told my family, friends, and strangers these simple truths I learned firsthand.

A cancer diagnosis it is not a death sentence. You do not have to be a victim. There are so many advancements in cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment that survivability goes up every year. So, I implore all women and all those who have women in their lives that they love to encourage them to get tested.

I am alive today because my cancer was detected early, at a routine annual exam. I had had an amazing group of health care professionals and Doctor that cared for me and that is why I am here today. I am living, breathing proof that people can survive cancer. I am a cancer survivor. Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most amazing things that have ever happened to me. I believe that my cancer diagnosis was indeed serendipitous.