5 Things I Learned from Having Cancer - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


5 Things I Learned from Having Cancer

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


Not everyone is lucky enough to get –and beat– cancer in their early 30’s. Sound like a strange thing to say? I don’t think it is. Let me explain why.

5 Things I Learned from Having Cancer

After surviving cancer, I’m still sometimes afraid of dying young, but I have a lot more clarity around many areas of my life.

I’d been feeling low-energy for a few months, and had been getting crazy 4-day-long crippling migraines. That, coupled with an itchy rash that kept me up all night every night scratching, had me feeling like I was in my early 80’s, not my early 30’s. I went to see doctor after doctor who prescribed various pharmaceuticals that did nothing to make me feel better — or only helped temporarily. Two doctors even insisted that I had “chronic Lyme Disease” and tried to get me to go on aggressive courses of antibiotics (which I declined, I’m happy to say).

Finally, after over a year of this, I learned that I’d have to take my health into my own hands if I was to get better, and I started doing a ton of online research. I’d like to say it was me who figured out that I had cancer, but it was, in fact, my mother’s startlingly effective research skills that cracked this case almost a year and a half after I first got sick, and started me on my long journey of recovery.

5 Things I Learned from Having Cancer

Me, getting yet another round of tests

Here are five reasons why –although having cancer was certainly a harrowing experience not only for me, but for my family– I actually feel lucky to have gone through it:

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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 spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 141 Comments

  1. Jennifer Kirkpatrick

    I’m so happy you’re better now!!

  2. Christine Wiggin

    Thank you for sharing this story 🙂

  3. Mona Murrell

    I hope you call your mom everyday!!

  4. Nancy Kerr

    How long did the whole thing go on for?

    • Diane Roth

      4 + years 🙁

  5. Katrina Giron

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

  6. Ella Rodriguez

    Why can’t we all be healthy forever!?

  7. Mira Kent

    You broke everything down so well in this piece

  8. Sandra Walling

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

  9. Mary Shirley

    I loved this article so much

  10. Ivelisse Ervin

    There’s so much to learn, makes you want to move to the hills and hide!!

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