10 Lessons Cancer Taught Me
By: Donna Davis
When I was 39 I scheduled a doctor’s appointment to have a lump in my
left breast checked. After a mammogram, the doctor said that there
appeared to be a problem on my right side. Well, being the expert in
all things at that time in my life, I told them there must be a
mistake. I came in for the LEFT side. They assured me that everything
looked fine on the left side but there were some suspicious looking
calcifications on the right. After further tests, I was diagnosed with
in situ carcinoma (cancer in the breast ducts). It was very, very
early and I went through six weeks of radiation.
During that time, I started reading a lot of books including Dr.
Bernie Siegel’s “Love, Medicine and Miracles.” One book that really
hit home was Dr. Carl Simonton’s “Getting Well Again.” There were
sections in that book where I sobbed because it was like someone had
been following me for 15 years and knew everything I had done and
said. I learned so much. I changed dramatically and so did my life.
Several years later I was suffering from severe fatigue and terrible
bruising. I was diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia. This time,
chemotherapy was needed and so I went through that process. I’m proud
to say that I’ve now been breast cancer free for 12 years and leukemia
free for four years.
I learned many lessons in this journey. I share them with you so
hopefully, if any of this fits, you can begin making changes in your
life to avoid getting hit with the same two by four that smacked me!
1. There is no someday. There’s only now. There’s a story called
“Precious Present” which talks about a mysterious man telling of an
elusive present. The point of the story is that being “present” by
enjoying the moments in your life is the best gift of all. It’s good
to plan for the future, but remember to LIVE TODAY. Don’t put off
playing with the kids, using your best china, doing all those things
you want to do “someday.” We truly do not know what tomorrow brings.
Be aware of what’s happening, really listen to others and trust your
instincts. Your life can be so much richer by learning to be present
even for just a few minutes each day.
2. Own and express your true feelings. For most of my life, I would do
things I didn’t want to do. I always worried about saying no to
others. When I got the leukemia I knew that the fatigue wasn’t just
from the disease. It was also from 20 years of pent-up resentment for
doing things and going places because I felt I “had” to. I’ve learned
to express my feelings. Now I say no to things that I don’t want to
do. But I also tell people I love them more often. I tell my kids “I’m
sorry” when I’ve made mistakes (and I make plenty!) I talk to others
about my fears, my depression (which plagued me for years) and my
failures as well as my successes. Being honest has lifted a huge
weight off my shoulders. Interestingly, in the process of becoming
more direct, I’ve become kinder. There’s no resentment when you speak
from the heart.
3. I’m not a victim. I choose how I react to situations. Sometimes
people ask “Why me?” Except for a brief moment, I didn’t travel down
that road. I knew there were lessons I needed to learn. Yes, some days
just plain sucked with nausea and fatigue, but I also knew that many
others have symptoms 1000 times worse than mine. When you’re open to
the lessons, you can move through your situation so much easier and
About the Author:
Donna Davis has successfully built several businesses from a local
accounting service to a large online network marketing team. Visit
http://www.HotAZCandles.com to learn more about her current business
and her family. To join Donna's newsletter, go to
Also, See Page #2 10 Lessons
Cancer Taught Me
information and web page by
Paul Susic M.A. Licensed Psychologist
Ph.D. Candidate (Health Psychology)