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