25 Things I've Learned From Having Cancer

I like to believe that out of everything bad, something good has to come ...if you choose to see it.

My cancer journey began just over 10 years ago. Some days, it still feels fresh. Those are words you never forget, heard probably in slow motion or at least anything that was said after, "It is cancer".  There are moments I catch myself thinking about my journey and it instantly chokes me up, reliving it in my mind when I hear of a friend of a friend who was recently diagnosed or a customer that knows my story and says, "I'm a SURVIVOR TOO!" 

As milestones go, TEN YEARS is a pretty good one to reach when we are talking about cancer. The end of November marks a decade of being released from a five month hospital stay of chemotherapy treatment and clean CT results.  Along the way, I have had plenty of time to gather my list of good things that came from that journey. Here they are...

1. Say the things you need to say, don't wait for a life altering event to do so.  "I love you" are very powerful words!

2. Be your own advocate and for others when you can. People are not always right, including doctors.

3. Take time to listen to others. You may learn something!

4. Take risks! If you don't, someone else will.

5. Be silly! If you want to have a dance party in your kitchen...have at 'er.

6. Learn to say NO. Our lives can get swallowed up by saying yes! to everything and everyone that asks...because we have been taught to not say NO. There are only so many hours in a day and...

Which leads me to the next one...

7. You can't do it all.  Ask for help when you need to (hopefully they will say YES!) It took an army of people to help out with our family while I was in hospital and it will always be appreciated.

8. Love hard!

9. Be kind. Everyone is going through something, you don't always know what it may be but being kind may just make their day.

10. It is harder to watch a loved one go through cancer than to actually go through it. Yes, cancer is horrible and so is the treatment but seeing the feeling of helplessness from those you love is way harder!

11. I realized that I am one tough cookie! 

12. Do something you love and the rest will fall into place.

13. Everyone deals with cancer differently. There is no "right way".

14. A great attitude is half the battle ...no matter what you are dealing with!

15. Do it now. Don't wait until you have enough money, are skinny enough, are pretty enough. You will miss out on life if you are waiting for the perfect time.

16. When it is your time...it is your time.

17. The power of prayer is amazing. You don't have to practice a certain religion to feel this. 

18. Oncology nurses are amazing! Really, it takes a special kind to do this job. My 3B nurses were the BEST!

19. If you are not sure what to say to someone with an illness, the best thing to say is "How are you TODAY?"

20. Sometimes we have people that in our lives that are no longer healthy to be around if it prevents you from doing the things you love.

21. One day at a time. 

22. We need to do more things for ourselves without feeling guilty.  As women in particular, we tend to give so much that we forget about our own needs.

23. Take lots of pictures. Capture all of the moments in your life, even the bad.  You know, I had one picture of myself in the hospital and it has since vanished with the last computer that crashed. I wish that I had taken more so I could see just how far that I have come!

24. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control. Make adjustments and carry on.

25.  We are not invincible! 


Cheers to 10 years!

xo Marla

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What a great list! I especially agree with #11… you are one tough cookie!

Leigh Penner

I had no idea of your history with cancer , Marla , and I’m honoured that you shared it . These 25 things are important and so true – thanks for posting this .


Thank you for sharing your story. So much can be learned by listening to the stories of journeys taken by others. Your compassionate honesty is inspiring!


Marla congratulations on the leaps and bounds that you have made during your time of illness and beyond now 10 years later. When I say leaps and bounds I also mean positives and negatives as we learn lessons from it all.

Cheers Patricia…

Patricia Jessup

Great post Marla! Congratulations on 10 years cancer free. Be proud of all you’ve accomplished. Your shop is awesome and you are always caring and supportive of people….I have felt that personally. Continued health and success! ?

Capri Meakin

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