“Mind your manners.”
“Eat a bowl of chicken soup.”
“Have sense enough to come in out of the rain.”
Grandmothers around the world give similar advice, but what does it have to do with cancer? It’s time to give Grandma credit and profit from the wisdom of timeless advice.
Back in the day, grandparents threw around Latin phrases they learned in their Duffy Readers. Carpe Diem means “Seize the Day.” Cancer’s scary prognosis can have you cowering in worry and fear or liberate you to celebrate the time you have. The choice is yours.
Don’t forget to say please and thank you.
Little civilities make life more bearable for everyone. And, you’re more likely to get what you want when you ask for it nicely. Manners count.
Do unto others as you’d have done unto you…
All the world’s great religions use this simple rule as the cornerstone of the wisdom they teach, and your grandmother knew it, too. During cancer treatment, when the phlebotomist pokes you 15 times without hitting the right vein, when your doctor makes you wait 45 minutes because something wrecked her schedule, or when your neighbor makes an inappropriate remark about the state of your hair, just let it go. Everyone has an off day, and a little forgiveness – for ourselves and others – makes everyone’s experience easier.
Come in out of the rain.
That’s Grandma’s way of telling you to use your common sense. Eat sensibly, or as sensibly as you can when you’re feeling nauseous, to give your body the fuel it needs to fight. When you’re tired, take a nap. Bodies heal when they’re at rest. And exercise. Even a little bit can make recovery faster.
Beauty is as beauty does.
When your hair is gone, your skin is sallow, your body feels emaciated, put on your best accessory. That’s right, your grandmother told you that all you really need to light up a room is your smile. A genuine, heartfelt smile outshines any disease and makes every face more beautiful.
It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.
What if your composure and grace during this time of struggle inspired others to handle their own challenges with strength and calm? What if a child watching your reaction to cancer decided to dedicate his life to making the world more loving and compassionate because of the way you managed your illness? In times of adversity, character shows. Use cancer as an opportunity to show the world that beauty exists everywhere, even in places where we least expect it.
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