Being more empathetic and compassionate
I understand what empathy and compassion are and believe I have always had these traits, but to a somewhat limited degree. As a result of my personal cancer experience, I'm feeling these emotions at a deeper level. It's one thing to know someone is in pain; it's completely different to actually feel that pain.
Having had my own pain during the past seven years, I can now more easily feel the pain of others. I have also had some wonderful role models, who showed me empathy and compassion during this cancer journey. I still have a ways to go here, but I do believe it's making me a better person.
Supporting cancer research
A friend recently volunteered to make a donation to a research program at MD Anderson. My siblings have made donations to my cancer center. One of them even asked her co-workers to make donations to my cancer center. I, too, have made financial contributions and hope to do more in the future. I believe the research I support will ultimately lead to improved prevention, early detection and the treatment of head and neck cancer.
In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared "The War on Cancer." I see first hand the promise of personalized cancer treatment. I understand, at some level, the human genome project, the cancer genome atlas, and have read articles on the decreasing cost and increased accuracy of DNA sequencing. A revolution is taking place in this 41-year-old war.
However, the economy is soft and reduced funding is hindering progress. I'd like to ask you to make a donation to cancer research. It doesn't have to be my cancer center. It doesn't have to be a lot. It doesn't even have to be in the United States (many other countries are doing remarkable research). If you're reading this blog post, there's a good chance that cancer has touched your life. Do what you can and make a contribution today and help cure this terrible disease.
I know it's a cliché, but I'm also trying to be more forgiving. No details are necessary here, but it's one more area where reinventing myself is making me a better person. This, like the other changes I'm trying to make in my "second chance" life, is a work in progress.
A disclaimer seems appropriate here. I'm not lowering the expectation of others or myself, I'm just letting go of the trivial.
I write about my learnings with the hope that you'll take something away from them, whether it's to be more proactive in making a positive difference, helping a friend in need or taking into deeper consideration the needs of our global community.