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Cancer In One Word: Gratitude

June 5th, 2013 |
Caregivers, Recently Diagnosed

by tambre | Supporter: Hodgkin's Lymphoma    Connect


Let's face it, when you are faced with a cancer diagnosis, you learn a lot of new words - and old words take on a whole new meaning. In a new series of guest blog posts from cancer coach Tambre Leighn, she will be exploring many of these words that we all can associate with. Read more to find out what she says about the word "gratitude."

When my late husband was diagnosed, we both agreed to do our best to find the opportunities or insights in the experience - that's how we normally approached life. We saw the chance to grow together, learn more about ourselves and to work together as a team and were grateful for these gifts.

Is it possible to be grateful for cancer?

For me, gratitude is about the attitude we can choose to have. We can choose to be grateful for what we have because it creates anabolic, or positive, energy. It feels better to be grateful than to focus on thoughts of sadness or anger. This doesn't mean we don't take time to honor those feelings, it just means we don't dive into the deep end and stay there.

No one would choose to have cancer but if this is the circumstance in your life, being grateful can support a positive attitude - whether you're grateful for the support you receive, your caring medical team, or even advances in science that are continuing to help more people survive longer. It's important to remember that each of us must find our own way to achieve gratitude in our own time. You may first need to feel your anger, express your sadness and face your fears before you can see the opportunities.

While gratitude and living in a state of grace can help you feel more positive, suggesting to someone else that they should focus on being grateful can be a bit like walking blindly onto a frozen lake. Some areas may be firm and solid while others may only be covered by a thin sheet of ice so you can't assume someone is able to embrace the perspective of gratitude.

It's important to recognize where someone else is in their healing process - telling them that there are diamonds buried in the coal when all they see is black is not meeting them where they are. We must show sensitivity and allow others to uncover their insights and the gifts in their own time, but be there to help them when they're ready.


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Tambre Leighn, MA, CPC, ELI-MP is a certified professional coach and founder of Well Beyond Ordinary, who helps cancer survivors and caregivers find the energy to go from surviving to thriving and beyond. Her personal experience caregiving for her late husband inspired Tambre to become a coach, a Stakeholder for the American Cancer Society’s Peer Grant Review Committee, a leading health advocate and blogger, and to co-create Well Beyond This, a coaching based online program for cancer survivors to help them thrive with, through, and beyond cancer. Read more about her story here.

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