There are upsides to cancer. Lots of them, if you’re willing to stop thinking about all the bad things that could happen and start thinking about all the good things that are happening.

Here are a few I’ve noticed:

My family has never eaten so well. Friends have brought over a variety of meals, my Aunt Mary (known for her cooking expertise) is visiting for a few days, and Charlie’s kindergarten teacher sent us an avalanche of Avalanche Pizza gift cards. Life is good.

Way more people are reading my blog than ever before. Hey, I’m a writer, I like people to read what I write. If it takes a life-threatening illness to get people to notice me, then so be it!

My kids… oh you guys, it’s too sweet. They’ve just gotten home from 10 days in Wisconsin with their cousins (we wanted to shelter them from the surgery & recovery). Ever since this diagnosis, they hold on a little longer when we hug, they are quick to say “I love you” and they seek me out regularly for snuggles. At 6:30 this morning, little Ben padded into my room and crawled right into the tiny space in my bed that was just his size. Never mind that the whole other side of the king size bed was open. He never said a word, just pulled my good arm (the non surgical side) around him, gave it a little kiss, and went back to sleep. Maybe they did these things before. Maybe cancer has helped me notice them.

And then there’s Saul. We’ve been blessed with a mutual fondness for a long, long time. But there is a new gentleness in the way we speak to each other, like we realize in a whole new way, almost with new eyes, how precious the other one truly is. I would be willing to bet some of you would gladly endure cancer or worse if it meant you could have just one more moment like that with the man or woman you used to love and now just live with.

We are waiting to find out if I will have to have chemotherapy. The pathology report came back from the surgery and it turns out that this cancer I have may be more complicated than we first thought. I took a moment after the doctor’s phone call to think about the cancer, to wonder how much more it will take from me. And then, since that is not a healthy spot to park my brain, I started wondering how much more cancer will give to me. What other blessings is God waiting to bestow down the road to help me through the hardship? I cannot even begin to ask or imagine all He has planned for me.