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Finding Meaning through the Cancer Journey

by Larry S. Cockerel

Inspiration image

Everyone hopes to discover the meaning of life. What is your mission, your purpose, and your meaning for the life you have been gifted? We all search daily for the answers. We pray, read, seek guidance, and even travel the world searching for meaning.

The true question is this: Is what we’re searching for awaiting within us? Do we hold all the answers?

I’ve asked myself the “purpose and meaning” questions many times over the years. There have been multiple answers, depending on what season of life I was in, who was in my life, and where I was along my journey. Today, my meaning of life is to find ways to return, give, and offer hope and encouragement.

My meaning of life is always evolving. My journey takes me to new places daily, new ways to grow and learn. My gift of life is about giving and making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the experiences that have made an impact in my life. Looking back, the cancer diagnosis could have been a negative experience; it has turned out to be positive on many different levels. I learned so much about myself, recognized my strong drive to survive, and today, my most sincere desire is to use this experience to positively influence the lives of others in whatever way I can.

Author of Article photo

Larry Cockerel

What about your life? Can all the challenges and opportunities you’ve experienced be considered hope, inspiration, or a lesson learned that another could grow from?

The journey is what we make it and how we think about the situations, events, and outcomes. Life is a series of making choices; how we choose to react or respond to life’s events can make the difference in how we live our gift of life.

Choose to conquer your dreams. Dreams come true every day. You might dream of walking again, of feeling love again, of holding a loved one again. Hold on to the dream to keep living and beating your cancer. The dream I held on to while I went through the radiation and chemotherapy treatments was eating all the food I wished I could have eaten during treatments. And, friends, I did!

Life is good, no matter how bad it gets at times, no matter how rough the treatments are. There is hope – hope for tomorrow, hope for a cure, and hope for a way to make a difference. Life is full of gifts, some wrapped with a pretty bow, others in a box, a chemo bag, an X-ray machine, or a medicine bottle. Yes, I see my cancer as a gift. I made a decision to look at this awful subject (cancer) as a gift. Not a disease. Not as evil. But as one of my life gifts that I’m supposed to do something good with.

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Larry Cockerel is a professional speaker and sales training specialist. After a successful battle with squamous cell carcinoma, he has adopted the title “The Cancer-Fighting Specialist.” Visit Larry at

Excerpted with permission from It’s Not About Cancer, It’s About You: Six Reasons to Keep Living and Enjoy Your Life, by Larry S. Cockerel, copyright © 2011 by Larry Cockerel.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, July/August 2012.