Tiffany, otherwise recognizable on this blog as, "Hey, isn't that my fan?" wrote to me recently and said that a friend of hers asked this question: Does anything good come from cancer? My first thought? No. Nothing good actually comes from cancer. But I do think good can come from facing it. Blechk. The whole what-doesn't-kill-us-thing. I have a lot of good in my life - perspective, faith in the incomprehensible, appreciation, a greater sense of humor - and it all either came from or grew stronger after cancer. Here are some more good things that came from [facing] cancer:
1. This shirt.
Actually, I think they would have brought me this shirt even if I didn't have cancer. This is Danny and Sarah. They went to New York City a couple months after I was diagnosed. They came to my house on my birthday or shortly after, and they brought me a t-shirt from their trip to the First Response guys with the fire department. You know what the numbers are? Regis and Kelly, baby. These were their seat numbers in the studio. Like I said, I don't think this was exactly a cancer gesture so much as a "Serenity is going to freak completely out when we bring her New York stuff on her birthday!" But it makes my point - facing cancer brought friends. They were there before the cancer, but they were so there during it.
3. My worst fear - one of the very top ones anyway - has been involuntarily but thoroughly faced. "Just think," Felicity told me a few days after my diagnosis, "You have just faced your worst fear. You actually had to hear the words, 'You have cancer." For you, life can only get better." That was so true.
4. I laugh now like Rachel (on friends) learned to run. If you haven't seen the episode, it's like this: with abandon.
5. I wrote a book. I always wanted to. Ever since I was very young, and I could hear Mom clacking away on her typewriter in the other room. I started at least three novels as a child. I had the houses completely mapped out and all the characters named and described and about three pages of the actually story. But after cancer, I finally had a story, a whole story, and the motivation to finish it.
6. I got my first tattoo. It's the size of a teeny tiny pin prick that I can't really even see any more. Or to quote another friends moment, "This is a tattoo of the earth as seen from a great distance." (really, really great)
7. My shoulder doesn't hurt anymore. It hurt for probably ten years, and none of us really knew why. Dr. R., because of cancer, made all that pain go away.
8. On that note, as Dr. R. said later when I could still move my arm, "See, you don't need a deltoid muscle."
9. I sing more. Not nearly as much on a stage, but way more in the car.
10. The ability to say to millions of people who've been there, I know just how you feel.