Thursday, July 15, 2010

Incredible Woman #46 - Colette Harris. Breast Cancer and Marriage...

KARA: "Tell us what you learned through your experience with breast cancer."

COLETTE: "While I was going through cancer, I was too sick to write about the experience in great detail. I had many profound thoughts, spiritual insights and humorous experiences along the way. I compiled a list I call "Twenty Things I learned From Having Cancer." The twenty short thoughts represent my cancer experience in a nutshell. I shared my list with family and friends at Christmas time. It touched some people very deeply, others told me it made them laugh and brought a smile to their face. I was humbled by their responses.

Colette was nice enough to share her "20 Things" with us here...

Twenty Things I’ve Learned From Having Cancer
By Colette Harris

• Life is a gift from God not to be taken for granted.

• The only stuff that really matters is the quality of your relationship with God, family, and others.

• A good cry is like a cleansing rain with the hope that dark clouds will soon lift and sunny days will be ahead.

• A bad night doesn’t have to turn into a bad day.

• Heavenly Father has been, and will always be, only a prayer away.

• If you choose to view the world through grateful eyes, you will begin to see God’s tender mercies all around you.

• Anger and pride must be nipped in the bud or their long-term effects will consume the heart in malignant proportions creating the worse cancer of all: cancer of the soul.

• The side effects from cancer are only temporary; the resurrection will take care of those; it’s the side effects from unrepented sin that should be worried about.

• If you get up one more time than you fall down, you will always end up back on your feet!

• Laughter is like a good laxative—a daily dose of it will loosen you up and keep you regular.

• Hair is highly over-rated.

• Don’t ever open an oven door with a wig on or you will melt your bangs! (I nailed the same wig twice by opening the oven door. I finally put a sign on my oven that said “Wig Alert!”)

• The gift of humor has helped me smile through pain.

• A mind filled with happy thoughts has no room for the opposite.

• During my darkest hours I always found two very good friends: Heavenly Father and the Book of Mormon.

• Every day it is important to turn-off the darkness and turn-on the light.

• I have learned that battling cancer isn’t “all about me.” Family and friends that visit, call, write, text, or e-mail all have trials, too; yet, they love me enough to forget about their problems for awhile and inquire about mine. I must never take them for granted. Their love and their friendship are priceless. I am blessed beyond measure to have them in my life.

• Cancer, you are a formidable foe. Fighting you I have lost my breasts, my hair, and my energy. Because of you pain is my daily adversary and neuropathy has numbed my fingers and my toes making it difficult to write and to walk. You have beat me up and worn me down; but, I will not let you win, for I control my heart and soul which I will never surrender to you as long as I live!

• I will always be eternally grateful for the gift cancer has given me: the privilege and blessing of understanding the Savior’s atonement and feeling His love on a much deeper level. He has extended His arms of mercy to me, lifted my burdens, and encircled me with His love. He is my best friend. I love Him with all my heart!

• Life is good—even with cancer! :)

On the road recovering from cancer, Heavenly Father placed angels in my path: a loving family, supportive friends, and gifted health care specialists. To all the angels in my life, THANK YOU! Not only did you choose to travel this journey with me, but many times you also picked me up and carried me along the way."

KARA: "What helps to keep your marriage strong? What is your favorite thing to do for date night - what do you and your husband do together?"

COLETTE: "Life has been crazy at times raising six children. Taking time to pray together before bed and taking time for "pillow talk" has helped us keep the lines of communication open with God and each other. My husband is fortunate enough to only work five minutes from home. He tries to come home every day for lunch and I try to be at home when I can to have lunch ready for him and to eat with him. It is nice to have that time with him. We also exercise together four times a week. I think taking the time to talk and spend time together has been the cement that has kept our marriage strong.

Mike and I like to go out to dinner and to movies and spend time with other couples. We have favorite DVD's we have collected through the years that we like to watch together. Lately, we have had a lot of Home Depot dates picking up items for home improvement projects and then working on the projects together. We also like to plan time during the year when we can go on a little vacation without the kids, even if it is just over night."

Please join us tomorrow for the last day of our interview with Colette. She is such an inspiring person... I hope you've enjoyed getting to know her.


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