The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Perspective Is Everything

by Lisa OrrSurvivor, Breast CancerDecember 26, 2019View more posts from Lisa Orr

Dear Cancer,

You taught me the true meaning of perspective. Perspective is everything. You never know what someone else is going through. Before judging a situation or a person, stop and take a second to appreciate what you have and to do your best to understand where the person is coming from, what may be going on in their lives. Know that the ‘small things’ are just that…SMALL. THINGS. Know that the air in your lungs and the people that surround you are truly the most important things in this world.

Dear cancer, you taught me to find the beauty in my everyday life. Find it in everything. Dance in the rain. Find the laughter. Find the happiness. There is beauty in everything if you look for it. Fill your soul with it day in and day out.

Dear cancer, you taught me to look for the light. Find the positive in whatever may come your way. Find a way to laugh at challenging situations. You will learn that they will make you stronger and propel you forwards in your life. Overcoming difficulties is what makes the simple things in life more meaningful and vivid.

Dear cancer, you taught me to slow down. As a mom of two young boys, this has almost been an impossible task, but I have learned how important it is. Slow. Down. Everything will be there when you finally get to it. Fresh air will do the soul good. Whenever you feel stressed, sad, tired, bored, lonely: go outside and take a deep breath of fresh air. You will be surprised at how renewing this is.

Dear cancer, you taught me to be thankful for all that I have. No, my life may not look like everything I wanted or wished for, but if you stop to look at what you DO have instead of what you lack, you will be surprised to find how amazing you truly have it.

Dear cancer, you taught me to continue to be KIND. KINDNESS MATTERS more than you know. Something as simple as smiling at someone else can change someone’s day. Always choose kindness.

Dear cancer, you taught me not to sweat the small stuff. It may not always feel like small stuff, but when a difficult moment arises, rather than get upset and feel negative about it, ask yourself: can I think of at least 3 reasons to smile right now?

Dear cancer, you taught me that it does in fact take a VILLAGE. There is absolutely, positively no way I would have made it even a DAY of this insanely difficult journey without the family and friends that I am blessed to have in my life. Not a chance. I owe my strength to my village.

Dear cancer, you taught me to put my health first and to advocate for myself. What do we have if we don’t have our health? TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Eat well. Exercise. You get ONE LIFE. ONE BODY. Take care of it. NO EXCUSES.

Dear cancer, you taught me to stop wasting time. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Do things that make you happy NOW. Spend time with people who bring you joy. Don’t be afraid to say NO to things or people that do not make your heart sing.

Dear cancer, you taught me to live in the moment. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Enjoy things as they happen, not through a screen. You’d be surprised at how much you are actually missing.

Dear cancer, you taught me to speak up. Tell the people that you love how much you love them. Every single day. As much as possible. Why? Because you CAN.

Dear cancer, you taught me to be present. Stop living in the past. Don’t live in the future. Live in the present, for the now. Appreciate everything you have to the fullest while you can. Stop waiting for things to happen. Don’t waste your life away in the waiting.

Dear cancer, you taught me that life isn’t about THINGS, it’s about PEOPLE. It’s about connections. It’s about the relationships that you have. It’s about how you choose to spend your time and your energy.

Dear cancer, you taught me to let go of people’s opinions of me. You taught me that I am the only one who knows my truth. Do what makes YOU happy, do what is best for YOUR family. The people who don’t understand that are not meant to be in your life.

Dear cancer, you taught me that it is never too late. It is never too late to change your life. It is never too late to change your habits. It is never too late to begin again.

Dear cancer, you taught me the true meaning of what it is to fight. To be brave. To have courage. You tried to take my life this year, cancer…but I vow, for every damn day from this moment on that I get to live, I will certainly LIVE it. To the fullest. Every freaking moment of it…

Dear cancer, I promise you that.

Lisa Orr and family


All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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