All I Need to Know, I Learned from Cancer by Anyika Mcmillan-Herod

I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer on June 7, 2007 at the age of 36, two months after my daughter’s 2nd birthday and finally weaning her from breast feeding.  Over the course of one year I underwent chemotherapy (to shrink my large tumor, so I could have surgery); a mastectomy; radiation therapy; and Herceptin treatments that ended sooner than anticipated due to heart damage I received as a result of the treatment.

My faith and family sustained me through this unexpected journey. Rooms in my home are still covered in the scriptures my husband placed around the house the day after learning of my diagnosis to encourage me for the fight of my life.

I have been cancer free for eight years! As a writer, an artist, I turned to my craft to strengthen me in this journey and my healing. 

Following is my list of lessons learned thus far on my journey through cancer.

1) God is Real

2) I Am God's Child

3) Everyday is a Gift

4) Nothing's More Important than Family...the family you're born into, the family of friends you choose, the family of earth

5) Pain is Necessary

6) Love Can Conquer Anything

7) Walk in Someone Else's Shoes for Perspective

8) Let God Use You -- Be a Vessel

9) Be Courageous. Be Present. Be Thankful.

10) Embrace Life

11) Let Go of What is Out of Your Control


Whatever Happened to "You're Welcome?" by Anyika Mcmillan-Herod

Is it just me or has society forgotten how to use the term “You’re welcome?” Just turn on the radio and catch an interview on NPR, watch an interview on one of the many daytime talk shows, or better yet, tell someone you know, “Thank You” and wait for the inevitable response of this new millennium – “Thank YOU” or better yet, “Thank YOU, so much.”

What’s up with that?

It’s so common now and I just want to know what happed to “You’re welcome.” I miss it. Did parents stop teaching their children proper etiquette or maybe we can blame it on our schools? Or maybe it’s just a result of our society’s “one-up” ways. You know what I mean. Have you ever joined a frenzied concert crowd in screaming “I love you!” to a pop star performing on stage and have them yell back, “I love you more!”?

What's that all about?

No, don’t say “You love me more." The proper response is “Thank you.” And then our reply should be, “You’re welcome.” Right? Right!

By not using this term, we are leaving millions of conversations open; floating out in the ether somewhere taking up space. “You’re welcome” offers a true conclusion, a finale and gives you the right to walk away. To move on to something else. “Thank you” leaves one (even if it’s just me) feeling some kind of way. I think it’s pretty darn snarky to respond to “Thank you” with another “Thank you.” I think it’s less evolved. And is some ways dare I say, asinine.

I can prove it to you:

I’m in Mexico City and I say GRACIAS to a lovely person who opens the door for me. And their reply?….DE NADA, not GRACIAS because that would sound silly.

Here’s another example:

I’m in Sengal (‘cause I ain’t going to Paris) and I say JE VOUS REMERCI to a delightful person who serves me a delicious plate of fish. And their reply?….DE RIEN, not JE VOUS MERCI because that is ridiculous.

Now, I could go on and on but I think you get my point.

The exchange must end properly and with mutual respect. Not in some silly competitive way. This new expression of gratitude does not allow for an appropriate exchange of energy. It’s like a one night stand instead of a honeymoon. It’s not true reciprocity.

If you don’t believe me, just take a day to listen to conversations and maybe even have one of your own. Tell someone “thank you” and see what you get back. And note how it makes you feel.

Now, please forgive me for this Andy Rooney moment I’m having, but this has been gnawing at my craw for some time and I’m sincerely curious if it bothers anyone else. Perhaps, it’s just me. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. Or maybe I’m a purist when it comes to an exchange of thoughts and energy with another human being. Regardless, it bothers me. And trust, there’s a long list of things that bother me about the world we live in right now (a whole lotta things I love, too) but I just want to know. DOES. ANYONE. KNOW. WHAT. HAPPENED. TO. YOU’RE WELCOME?!

Someone out there, please find the answer. I promise to say “Thank you” and I hope your reply will be a hearty “You’re welcome.”