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10 Awesome and Unexpected Gifts Breast Cancer Gave Me

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Cancer can take away so much, and yet nothing in my life has taught me more about myself — or others.

So, in essence, cancer is a gift. And I’m not just talking about the traditional “live for today” stuff. (After nursing my husband through treatment for stage IV melanoma, we certainly counted our blessings plenty in that department.) I’m talking about the good stuff; the unexpected “perks.”

My approach to cancer shifted depending on the day, but what never seemed to wane much was my humor. Quite honestly, it was how I survived. But the key word there is survived, and I am lucky to count myself in that category thus far.

For those reading, know I am in no way trying to be flippant about what is often a serious and humorless situation; I am just trying to offer up a little of what I have been given by this insidious disease. And if you, or someone dear to you, has battled it, feel free to comment on what cancer has done for you, or them, too.

1. Never again will I feel compelled to scramble and find something pink to wear to my kids’ breast cancer awareness sports events. I. Am. Aware.

2. Finally, proof that Angelina Jolie and I share more in common than simply a love of bad-ass tattoos and hot husbands. BRCA-positive forevah, baby! 

3. Because my genes decided to revolt I am, at the ripe old age of 42, the first of my friends to be officially menopausal. (Does that make me a Meno-pioneer? A Mentor-pause?)

So I will never again have to find creative ways to carry or conceal “feminine” products. Awww yeah. You’re jealous, admit it.

4. Having any hair = A good hair day.

5. Three little words I never expected being able to incorporate into my vocabulary: Bras are optional.

That’s right ladies, read it and weep.

6. Every third Wednesday for four-and-a-half months, I could sit in a chair with my feet up. I didn’t have to do anything other than watch TV, doze off if I felt like it and relax. I didn’t have to talk, fix breakfast, tie shoes, zip backpacks or listen in amazement as my son entertained me with his armpit farts. I had wonderful people offering to bring me water or a blanket every so often, and I read as many trashy magazines as I could handle.

OK, so they were pumping my veins with poison… blah, blah, blah. Since the effects didn’t show up until a couple of days later, I felt like I was getting away with something big. That chemo spa was downright awesome!

7. I’d love to say cancer gave me the freedom and lust for life to be that mom out there with her kids at the trampoline park doing back flips. (Make that the only mom.) Honestly, though, I would have been that mom long before cancer.

But now at least a couple parts of my body don’t jiggle when I do those backflips! Woohoo!

8. I no longer have to worry about what kind of bra I have to wear with a maxi dress. I do, however, still have to worry about giggling like an idiot every time I utter the phrase maxi dress.

9. Lance Armstrong + Cancer = Livestrong.

Livestrong + Nike = Awesome workout wear.

Lance Armstrong + Lying = Scandal.

Scandal + Nike = All Livestrong workout wear 50% off lowest ticket price.

Betsy + Cancer = I get to wear all of that awesome, cheap workout wear and who’s going to question it? Nice!

10. Since all of the pain meds they gave me made me puke and I trashed my veins with chemo, I’m fairly confident drug addiction won’t be a part of my future. Think of the money I will save on rehab alone! Yes!

You can read more from Betsy at

This post was originally published on HuffPost.

Thinkstock photo by Metaphortography

Originally published: October 2, 2017
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