WELLNESS
11/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

5 Lessons Cancer Can't Teach You

I discovered I had breast cancer in June 2004 during a routine mammogram. It was caught early and hadn't spread, but I still had to deal with almost nine months of treatment, from lumpectomy to chemo to radiation. And what I learned from all that that drama was: not much.

I kept expecting there would be something, some new wisdom, that would make it all "worth it." But no. It was most certainly NOT a gift (if you think cancer is a gift, I really hope you're not my Secret Santa this year). And then it dawned on me that survival was its own reward, and that it was plenty.

Cancer didn't teach me lessons that changed my life--my life taught me lessons that changed my cancer experience. Here are five lessons I didn't learn from breast cancer (and one big one I did).

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