Cancer sucks. No doubt about it. While there are many new and innovative advancements in the evolving world of healthcare, increasing the chances of remission and recovery, there are still many whom do not survive; who can’t “win” the courageous battle. I know those people well… they were my beautiful, vibrant cousin, Michele, who passed away much too young from brain cancer. They were my grandmother, who was so full of life until she was diagnosed with lung cancer with mets to the bone; she died within six months, her death merciless and painful on New Year’s Eve. They were my many brave pediatric patients who didn’t stand a chance against the cruel, non-discriminatory disease. Most recently, it was my father, whose cancer was so relentless that it laughed in the face of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation. Yes, the “cons” of cancer are many, and their faces are forever in my memory and heart. But are there “pros” to cancer? I believe that there are some. The gift of cancer is that it gives us time to prepare, to let the inevitable sink in. It allows us the opportunity to go down fighting; to try everything that is available, from research studies, to proven protocols. Mostly, it gives us the gift of hope. And when we can see that the hope is fading, and our arsenal of medications are no longer working, it gives us the gift of saying a proper good-bye; saying what needs to be said before it’s too late. The closure that it can bring is the only thing that makes it bearable. Traumatic, sudden accidents or events, such as a heart attack, 9/11, or a car accident, do not give you closure; death is unexpected. No one can possibly be prepared. There are no “good-byes” or “I love you”, or “I’m sorry”…. there are regrets. And to me, that is even worse than a prolonged battle with cancer.