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a person looking at the silver lining in the cloud

How Cancer Changed My Life for the Better

You probably read that title and thought, how could cancer be a positive? When you hear the words 50% chance of survival you have to find the silver lining because what is the other option?

The day I was told I had stage 4 skin cancer (2 months later diagnosed to stage 3b) it was like I woke up. I finally opened my eyes and realized I was coasting through my life. I was just doing what was comfortable, living my life the way I thought other people wanted me to. From that day on, I decided I needed to make some big and small changes in my life.

All of a sudden I had a fire in my belly, an overwhelming scene of urgency. It wasn't about going sky diving, going skinny dipping, or visiting the Great Wall of China. It was more a sense of urgency to be my best self (sorry for the Oprah-ism but it describes exactly what I felt).

How skin cancer changed me and my routine

Here are the main things I've changed since my diagnosis:

My outlook

I'm a pragmatic person and after watching the documentary ‘Heal’, I realized I needed to do some work around my outlook. I needed to change from a pragmatic person to a positive person. Now let me tell you, this isn’t easy, how do you change how you naturally think? Well, the answer is a lot of self-help books, daily gratitude, affirmations, meditation, and self-reflection. Slowly but surely my outlook started to change.

Upskilling and growth

One of the things I felt really strongly about after my diagnosis, was that I wanted to be bigger and better at everything I did. From my hobbies to my career, I wanted to learn more and be better. So I signed up for educational courses, listened to countless educations podcasts, and read lots of books from business leaders and experts in their fields. I then realized I had a passion for bettering myself, I can’t get enough of it!

My routine

What I did day in and day out was something I started to look at closely. Prior to my diagnosis, I wasn’t having breakfast, I was working really long hours that weren’t always productive, I wasn’t cooking my food, I was ordering out a lot and I was wasting my evenings and weekends binging TV. So my morning - this was a place I needed to make big changes and it's still something I work on.

Now I make sure I start my day off right with affirmations and breakfast. Instead of listening to the radio with hosts filling my mind with nonsense, I listen to motivational podcasts. I cook a majority of my meals and I swapped Netflix for online courses. Don't get me wrong, I still get in some Netflix time, let's not get too carried away.

These are just a few of the positive changes that I have made over the past few months. I plan on making many more. In a funny way, it was cancer that woke me up to my life!

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