Things I Learned The Month I Started To Get Better

I usually do this at the end of every month, but the 31st snuck right by me! July was a very long and intense month, so perhaps the extra day of reflection was needed. Here are the things I learned in those 31 days:

Hospitals are a lot like prisons. Except, without the recreational sports.

There are A LOT of good people in the world.

Times of stress will chase people out of your life, but it will also bring the good ones closer.

I can’t be certain, but I suspect prisons have better food than hospitals do.

There is never an excuse for crocs.

Chemotherapy is not as scary as the movies make it out to be.

Cancer does not mean death. It doesn’t even have to mean “sickly.”

Roast chicken is the easiest way to impress people into thinking you’re a good cook.

Carrot fries > sweet potato fries. Yes, I totally went there.

Being in the public eye is intimidating. But when I have something important to say, and people are willing to listen, I need to take every opportunity I have to say it.

Rainy days can be just as good as sunny days, I just need to be more creative with how I enjoy them.

And yes, there is a metaphor hidden in there.

Never turn your back on kale chips roasting in the oven.

Just because I’ll never get my old life back, doesn’t mean I can’t make my new life a good one.

The human body is tougher than you think, and the human spirit is even tougher.

Posted on August 1, 2011, in Cancer, Lessons Learned. Bookmark the permalink. 59 Comments.

  1. greensandjeans

    So glad that you’ve had such a sunny end to this month my friend!

  2. The positives you are seeing are absolutely inspiring… keep your head up special lady!

  3. “Just because I’ll never get my old life back, doesn’t mean I can’t make my new life a good one.”

    Thanks so much for saying this. I’m going through a period now where my old life is gone too. But there can be joy in the new one – what beautiful encouragement.

  4. Nothing like a little burnt kale to lend a real “pretty” smell to things. For about 3 days! lol

    Glad your spirit is so strong, Susan!

  5. Great post Susan! I especially liked the last lesson. :) it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Louis Pasteur: “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

  6. Beautiful as usual :)

    Hope the next batch of kale chips turned out better!

  7. I have been learning a lot from you through reading this blog since your diagnosis. Love your July lessons! I fully agree with you that rainy days can be enjoyable too – once you master the rainy days, you get so much more out of the sunny ones I think.

  8. Great post Susan. We all need to remember the things we learn each month.
    I hope you are feeling better and had a great time at the cottage (so jealous hehe)
    So March is not a good time to visit then? I’m headed to Vancouver as I’ve lived there before so thought I would head there as the first stop on my working holiday visa. Then things changed and I may be only going for 3 months so am thinking of other places to go and thought I haven’t been to Nova Scotia before. But if it’s not worth it I will save it for another time, maybe later in the year :)

  9. You are an inspiration. :-)

  10. That is a lot of things that you have learned in one month. And I have to say I agree with all of them. I also write a health and fitness blog, and I was also diagnosed with cancer – just 4 days ago. You are a great role model, so positive and yet also realistic about what you are going through. Thank you.

  11. I love this. Funny and poignant all at the same time. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  12. I am glad you have come to your senses about the crocs.

    • The hospital did funny things to my sense of fashion. It’s hard to know what’s right when everyone around you has there butts showing through a johnny robe ;)

  13. i’m reading your blog from the other side of the world, i live in vienna, austria – i just wanted to tell you that i’m sooo impressed by your positivity, you are making the world so much better!! thanks for that!! i wish you all the best, i’m sure you’ll make the life ahead of you a great one!!

  14. I love how positive you are!!

  15. You are such an inspiration! Positive thinking is such a powerful thing. I think many people can relate to your words.

    And hospitals have the worst food ever. I pretty much grew up on rounds with my dad and have seen some interesting things. I’m so glad your family was able to provide you with REAL food :)

  16. One of the most beautiful posts to date.

  17. Great post! Thanks! …..I had a big spoonful of oatmeal on its way to my mouth when I reached the “hair in food” picture….needless to say…I had to put my oatmeal down!

  18. Thanks for your writing Susan!
    Look forward to reading what you’ve learned in
    May we all learn a lot and smile a lot this month :)

  19. Wow, I love this recap. LOVE the picture of you in the paper too, gorgeous shot, honestly. You are right where you are meant to be, mentally and so positively, I just love it.

  20. You’re so positive and insightful! It’s seriously inspiring!

  21. Glad you’re feeling better. Loved this post!

  22. Love this post, and am totally in agreement about the crocs! They are never okay!

  23. What a wonderful post! Being in the public eye is intimidating, but you are raising awareness for something very important. Continue on the road to recovery! Prays said for you today!

  24. Great post! Sometimes things fall apart so that a better and brighter life can be put back together.

  25. “There is never an excuse for crocs.”

    No, there isn’t. If there’s one positive that comes out of your cancer, that realisation is it! ;)

  26. I love this post!!
    And tell me you google imaged to get that croc picture ;)

  27. I am glad you are staying so positive and upbeat!

  28. You are so amazingly inspirational… I don’t even know what to say! Your strength is so comforting, keep it up girl you rock!

  29. I recently ran across your blog, you are truly an inspiration to many people. I Pray for you throughout the day. ;0)

  30. I love your monthly posts. I hope you know how wise/funny/true you are!

  31. I’m glad to read such and uplifting post. It makes me feel better for you and less afraid of illness myself. It’s a matter of how we look at things.

    You are doing great!!!! I think your positive attitude and determination are your inner strength.

    Keep up the good thoughts!

  32. Crocs aren’t even comfortable! They create a whole different breed of blisters that are not fun! Why they are still around, I don’t know.

    “Just because I’ll never get my old life back, doesn’t mean I can’t make my new life a good one.” My motto for now. I’m really feeling older lately… and I’m definitely not old, but I can tell that I’m older than I was a few years ago and it SUCKS!!! Really truely. So, thanks… here’s to moving on.

  33. Great post Susan, and that hair photo still really grosses me out.

  34. I love the thought about “times of stress” and the people it chases away or brings closer. So true. It can be sad initially when people start disappearing, but realizing who is still at your side is a beautiful thing!

  35. Hi Susan, I’ve been following you for the past month and your posts never fail to show how your positive attitude lifts up yourself and those around you. It’s inspirational and goes to show that anyone can make the best of any circumstance if they take on the right perspective. I get something out of your blog every time I read. Rock on!

    p.s. Carrot fries > sweet potato fries????? Well, I guess I’ll have to try.

    Have a wonderful week :)

  36. such good stuff to share here susan. And I will take it! I especially like the roasted chicken trick. Ya, totally my playoff too.

    there are good people because you pass along goodness yourself.

  37. i’ve been continually amazed by how strong you are. you know that when people are faced with life altering challenges, not everyone picks up and carries on, right?!

    by the way…i’ll accept the carrot fries on that plate…but only because you’ve paired them with what looks like mashed potatoes :)

  38. Take your new attitude and lease on life and run with it!

  39. This is such an inspirational post. Particularly the carrot chips :)

  40. You are such an inspiration! Thank you!

  41. I love the title, and I love your spirit! Since the first time I visited your blog (on the day of the auction), I have checked back regularly. I think you are an amazing example of strength and courage. Thank you for sharing your story, your pictures (even the hair in the food), and your life with us. Many prayers and positive thoughts are coming your way!

  42. I love what you said about the human mind and body. So true.

  43. Such a cute doggy picture!

  44. I love your comment about roast chicken; my boyfriend is amazed that I can cook a “whole” something :)
    And Crocs aren’t THAT bad, are they? I live in Oregon, the land of black socks with Birkenstocks (ick)…everything goes here :)
    Here’s to a fantastic August for you – Cheers!

  45. Hi Susan! I found my way to your blog through, and just read through your series of posts on dealing with your diagnosis. I was diagnosed with leukemia in May, and although everyone’s experience with cancer is different, reading through your posts reminded me of some of the thoughts that have been going through my own head and the things I’ve gone through in the past few months. eg:

    -coming back home after being in the hospital for a month, and that definite feeling that things have changed.
    -doing “normal” activities and then suddenly being reminded of the big C lurking inside us.
    -not wanting to be defined by our illnesses even though they’ve become such a big part of our lives.
    -the horrible hospital food! but some of your pics have given me a few ideas on how to jazz up my meals :)
    -being the youngest in the ward. At 20, it’s hard to find others in the hospital and at Vancouver’s cancer lodge that I can relate to. But I’ve made quite a few substitute grannies!

    Anyways, I wish you the best of luck with your treatment, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts! Congrats on the fundraiser; it’s great to see someone using their situation to draw attention to a much bigger need, and even better to see the amazing support and kindness that so many have shown.

  46. This post was beautiful – I am so inspired by you!
    Wishing you all my prayers and blessings!

  47. lovely, lovely sentiments my friend! i especially believe in the one about crocs ;)

  48. I am at loss for words but you are amazing! I really think the healthcare thing is a huge statement about how we need reform in this country!

  49. Beautiful, beautiful post. Tears in my eyes. I think all of us can apply these lessons in our own lives.

  50. This is a truly lovely post! I love that you can find beauty even when things are tough. I hope that August is a great month for you.

  51. One of my favorite posts so far! The family cottage is amazing ~ I bet going there alone did wonders for the healing process.

    We are always thinking of you!


    Danica & Jay

  52. Hello! I really like your dog! What kind of breed is he or she???

    All the best, and I hope the chemo is not to hard on you!

    Bye Sophie (and Casper, my black great poodle)

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