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With the arrival of the season of Lent, everyone seems to be buzzing around trying to figure out what they are going to give up. I have heard it in the grocery store, seen it online, and am even guilty of it myself. But I don’t think that Lent is about giving anything up. In fact, my parents have always told us that Lent is about doing something to better yourself. Instead of giving up chocolate cake, decide to eat healthier. Instead of giving up coffee, decide to go to sleep earlier and practice relaxing. It’s about being a better person. If you can do it for forty days, then maybe it will become a habit and your life as a whole will improve.
Being a cancer patient seems like it’s about all of the things you have to give up. Doctors tell patients not to eat their favorite foods or wear their favorite perfumes during their months of chemotherapy because, when they are done, they won’t ever want to touch those things again- the tastes and smells will make them sick.
One of the toughest things my mom had to “give up” was wearing her favorite perfume. I know it was hard on her, because it was hard on me. Whenever I smell it, I instantly feel comforted and safe- she even sprays it on a handkerchief and I take it with me to college- and she wasn’t able to wear it for six months. I also just learned that Mom has a hard time eating almonds. She ate them during chemo and now they make her feel sick to her stomach.
It’s interesting, the things you have to give up to cancer. It seems as though it takes everything away- security, confidence, your hair, favorite foods, and even your life. But really, it can give you so much more.
Cancer can be about fear. It can be about defeat, the unknown, and loss- if you let it. Or, it can be about new opportunities, great life changes, discovery, and self improvement. It’s a choice.
I’m not trying to connect lent to cancer, but I do think that they can be similar in some ways. Whether you’re a cancer patient, survivor, family member, or someone looking to better themselves, don’t decide to give something up. Choose to be a better person. Choose to make cancer into a good thing.