05/30/2013 07:15 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Today Was a Gift -- Until I Burned My Soup

I'm having a down day today.

Maybe it's because of the rainy Kansas City weather that's clouded the sunshine. My highly anticipated plans for tonight were cancelled. And, I burned my soup for lunch.

Seriously -- who burns soup?

It's days like today that I realize that sometimes the advice and outlook that I dish out from time to time isn't exactly the easiest to follow.

And while I hate it in the moment, I've realized that the "blues" I feel are actually a gift in and of themselves.

It's not always easy to seize the day

I will admit it. After 12 years of surviving colorectal cancer I've probably sounded like a walking greeting card at times.

As people have asked me what I learned from cancer or if I can offer any encouragement to those in the fight (or anyone in general), I've often responded with the cliché.

You know, the things all of us say when we've faced our mortality, or phrases we like to share on our Facebook pages:

Live for today!
Each day is a gift.
Treat everyday like it's the last!
Slow down and savor each second.
Don't fret the small stuff.

And while those sayings are definitely true -- cancer brings about the "life is short mentality," I'll admit that days like today, I don't want to remember that life is short.

I just want some decent-tasting minestrone.

Remembering Drew

As raindrops hit my window and I stirred my soup, trying to decide how burnt is "too burnt," I realized that even my grumbling was a gift.

A few months ago I met a fellow colorectal cancer survivor, Drew Lewis, who was also from Missouri. His family friend and recording artist Sheryl Crow had returned to our state to play a benefit show for him.

As a writer for Fight Colorectal Cancer, I had the opportunity to meet Drew, his wife Amy and Sheryl, a cancer survivor herself as we filmed a PSA and Drew's story. As we interviewed the three about their journeys with cancer and supporting one another, their optimism and hope flooded the room.

Even in the midst of a man who was losing his battle to late-stage disease, his mission and the perspective he gained from battling cancer was not lost on our group. Drew explained how he intentionally blogged his journey on Facebook so others would benefit. He talked about slowing down. Enjoying life. Loving friends and family. (And the importance of getting screened for colon cancer.)

Drew saw each day as a gift. As I read the post that his newly-widowed wife Amy put online, she reminded everyone that Drew would say "Live for today! Be happy and enjoy life!"

Sweating the Small Stuff

Amy's post immediately reminded me that there are worse things than the small disappointments I faced today. But it also reminded me that life's blessings come in many forms.

Being disappointed in something as simple as soup is a gift, too.

Today I wasn't facing the threat of it being my last day to live. I didn't go to chemo or radiation. I didn't have surgery and I wasn't told bad news.

I just had a change of plans and a charred lunch.

And while I would have preferred to avoid my frustrations of the day, I realized that getting to be disappointed in them is a gift, too. I know I shouldn't sweat the small stuff.

But praise the Lord that I have small stuff to sweat about.

Chances are good that I will see tomorrow. I'm hoping the sun will shine and my plans will be kept.

And in the event I make my lunch, I'll just choose to eat a sandwich instead.

Danielle writes the Community Blog for Fight Colorectal Cancer