8 Things Breast Cancer Taught Me About Life


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I didn’t have breast cancer, but my girlfriend did. In fact, she will be writing a similar article from her own perspective.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 months into our relationship. She had gone to Maine to be with her family for the biopsy and I’ll never forget the sound of her voice when she called to tell me, and said “I have aggressive breast cancer. I know this isn’t what you signed up for…”

I stopped her mid-sentence and told her I wasn’t going anywhere. Thanks to amazing doctors and modern science, she is healthy today. We are even doing the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer together.

This journey teaches you a few things.


Real passion lasts even if beauty doesn’t.

We all know physical attraction is important in starting, building, and maintaining a relationship – but when you fall for who someone truly is, everything about them becomes beautiful no matter what happens.

Even if they have no hair and their eyebrows have thinned out – it is only packaging around someone much more valuable.

Learn to appreciate everything. 

A healthy 26 year old woman with no family history of health problems being diagnosed with breast cancer is enough to make anyone realize how fragile life really is.

We zip through our days munching on processed foods and stressing over menial things like traffic or being late for an appointment. There are people in the world who spend their lives hoping for problems that small.

Learn to slow down, take a deep breath, and appreciate each second in life. None of it comes back to you.

People show their true colors when times get tough.

You will know who really cares about you when you face a challenge in life. They will step up and fight with you.

Waste no energy on those who disappear, be thankful you found out who they truly are.


You can handle anything.

The fact that you’re alive and reading this right now means you have a 100% success rate in facing hard times.

Margot’s battle against breast cancer was long, taxing, and difficult – but it was also victorious and she learned she can beat anything life brings her way. You can too.

Everyone is fighting their own battle.

One of the things that happens when faced with a situation like breast cancer is that people reach out to you to share their own stories of difficulty and triumph.

You would be stunned to learn how many people have either had a personal experience or a mother/sister/cousin/daughter/friend who has faced breast cancer (or any other disease).

Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. When Margot would wear her wig, nobody knew she had cancer. Now that she has short hair, everyone thinks she just chose to cut it that way.

You never know what the person standing next to you is going through, so always be kind to them – they might need it more than you think.

Find value inside yourself.

Your true value comes from within. Not your hair or your perfectly manicured nails or the body you’ve built from hours in the gym.

All of those things are great and help with your confidence and self-image, but they can all also disappear before you know it.

What truly matters and what will keep you happy long after beauty gives way to age health, or circumstances, is who you are and who you work to become.

People may be drawn to you because of your physical beauty, but the only thing that will keep them in your life is the beauty of things we cannot see.

Attitude is everything.

As the saying goes, it’s not about what happens to you in life, it’s about how you handle it.

Every day each of us is faced with small and large choices, problems, and challenges. How we choose to interpret each of these scenarios can make all the difference in the outcome.

Choose to smile.



Life is fragile. While we are each products of billions of years of biological evolution, we find ourselves on an indifferent planet in an indifferent universe. We are flawed creatures with imperfect bodies that can turn on us instantly for no reason.

We all have to begin to value what is going to make our time here most fulfilling – friendship, love, family, relationships, and health.

Many things in life come and go like the tide, but you will always be you, and you are awesome.

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  1. Abigail on April 28, 2014 at 11:11 am

    First, let me say that I am so glad Margot is doing well and that you supported her. James, this article is just what I needed. I do not have cancer but really, the “cancer” can be any trial we are going through in our life. I am so happy to have found your site. It makes me smile everytime I read one of your blogs. I have been suffering with an undiagnosed bipolar husband (I think he is since his mother and brothers have it) and after 24 years of marriage and trying to be the best wife ever, I am so drained. I am a very positive person with so much life and love to give yet I have been severly neglected by a man who is living a 15 year old Peter Pan life and is complacent. My heart aches to be in love again yet, it is very hard to be in love with someone that doesn’t feel your pain or put you first.Yet I have stayed loyal even though my heart bleeds daily for the love that I need. I have spoken to him so many times about how I feel but he is in denial and even though he knows my pain, he doesn’t change or get help. His pride is his downfall, not his disorder. This article really helped me today to see that I am a true warrior and survivor. I am grateful for all of those true friends and family who would do ANYTHING for me and let me vent to them and cry on their shoulder since this re-energizines me for the next day. I am choosing to smile each and everyday because it may help someone else feel better and trickle down to me. Please continue writing these wonderful blogs. I truly appreciate your work and I am happy that Margot found someone just like you.

  2. Katie on April 28, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Lovely lovely article. Thank you for writing this. I am currently 9 months and a few days from my double mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction. It was my second breast cancer and it seriously was the last thing I was expecting. I can’t wait to read your girlfriend’s article. Please keep up the good work.

  3. Dante' on April 29, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Love this article!! Looking forward to reading Margot’s.

  4. diana on May 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Where would we find her article?

  5. […] source […]

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