A Better Example of Joy due to Illness

In my last post, I used the example of a false alarm to illustrate how joy can come out of illness, . That wasn't the best example, given how the joyful relief of a false alarm can be mixed with anger, embarrassment, self-doubt and other uncomfortable emotions. 

Here's a better example: the joyful relief of remission following a course of difficult treatment, especially if the chance of a complete response was small.

The day my oncologist announced I was in remission, I needed lead in my shoes I was so giddy with relief. Sharing the happy update with family and friends felt like giving gifts to everyone--in a word, wonderful.  With renewed hope for the future, I felt the kind of happiness I'd felt at major milestones in my life. 

The difference, of course, is that I chose to go through the grind of medical school to reach the joyful graduation. I chose to get pregnant to experience the high of holding a newborn in my arms. I didn't choose to have cancer.   

That's the point. People don't choose to be sick. Still, unwanted disease can bring moments of pure joy--marvelous life experiences that happen because of illness.  As a Healthy Survivor, I'll savor them.

"Good news: all your test results are perfectly normal."


Illustration by Emma C. Mathes

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