The "Silver' Lining
Let me be very clear. There is nothing good about having breast cancer, and I am always somewhat suspect of people who claim to be glad that they have been diagnosed with cancer. The next part of their comments inevitably has to do with appreciating life. Personally, I appreciated my life before my first cancer diagnosis, and would have been more than happy to continue without this additional reminder of my mortality and life's fragility.
One of my patients suggested that there is no silver lining, but just might be a tin one. I think she was right, but titling this blog the "tin" lining would have been unclear. Just as titling the survery that we ran on our Support Net page (http://www.bidmc.org/breastcaresupport) would have been. We did, therefore, run a survey for a few weeks which asked what the silver lining had been, and I was somewhat surprised by the percentages of responses. Here they are:
(The question was "What has been the silver lining of your breast cancer experience?)
For me, the silver lining about having breast cancer has been:
46.67% - People whom I have met
0.00% - Greater appreciation of my family
20.00% - Greater appreciation of my friends
6.67% - Pride in what I have gotten through
20.00% - Stimulated me to make positive changes in my life
6.67% - Other
The favorite choice (46.7%) of "People whom I have met" is not a surprise at all. Most of us become very fond of our doctors, nurses, and, most of all, the other women whom we meet along the way. The surprise for me is the 0% for "Greater appreciation of my family." Either this means that we all appreciated our families anyway or that our families disappointed us. I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.