5 Things I Learned from Having Cancer

Not everyone is lucky enough to have –and learn from– cancer in their early 30’s.


Always focus on the silver lining

The most important skill I gained from being sick is the ability to see the silver lining in everything. All bad things will pass — eventually. If you look hard enough, you can pull a longer-lasting lesson, appreciation, or some sort of value from every bad thing that’s happened to you. The trick is to focus on that lesson instead of the hurt, and try to see the bad thing that happened as valuable, because of it. I promise, it makes life a lot easier. Positive thinking changes your reality and  health.

‘The real voyage of discovery consists not only in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.’
-Marcel Proust

5 Things I Learned from Having Cancer

Meditating helps me to see everything in perspective

Good friends will be there for you in hard times

Having cancer helped teach me who my real friends are — and it surprised me. I got to see who checked in to see how I was doing, and who didn’t. It wasn’t always who I expected.

Love is invaluable

After listening to an audiobook called Radical Remission, and hearing cancer survivor’s stories, I learned that the people who survived had one thing in common: the support of close friends. I would add pets and family to that. Basically — love. In fact, the more true friends they saw regularly, the better off they were health-wise. Love fills life with meaning. It gives us a subconscious reason to live. So I’ve learned to spend less time working and more time talking to my family and hanging with friends. Yes, even if it’s raining or cold outside.

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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 144 Comments

  1. Avatar of karen white

    karen white

    You’re story help us to be strong as an individual. You are such a blessing in disguise for us to be thankful and greatful from God! Continue to be a blessing #hilaryrowland 🙂

  2. Avatar of Faye

    This is such an inspiring post that is a great reminder and wake up call for everyone to see the bright side and integrate the lessons that they learned into everything that they do for the better. You can move hearts with words and this has certainly moved mine. Such a great read that I will definitely come back too!

  3. Avatar of Jennifer Kirkpatrick

    Jennifer Kirkpatrick

    I’m so happy you’re better now!!

  4. Avatar of Christine Wiggin

    Christine Wiggin

    Thank you for sharing this story 🙂

  5. Avatar of Mona Murrell

    Mona Murrell

    I hope you call your mom everyday!!

  6. Avatar of Nancy Kerr

    Nancy Kerr

    How long did the whole thing go on for?

    • Avatar of Diane Roth

      Diane Roth

      4 + years 🙁

  7. Avatar of Katrina Giron

    Katrina Giron

    Life threw you a good punch. I’m happy you punched back !

  8. Avatar of Ella Rodriguez

    Ella Rodriguez

    Why can’t we all be healthy forever!?

  9. Avatar of Mira Kent

    Mira Kent

    You broke everything down so well in this piece

  10. Avatar of Sandra Walling

    Sandra Walling

    It really is all about relationships. They’re the best medicine

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