Perspectives, Once Again

A frozen pipe.  A leaky roof.  The stresses of work and raising teenage girls.  These are some of the issues that have filled my past couple of weeks.  My daughter woke me up at 1:30 a.m. the other day and said “The kitchen ceiling is leaking.”  Not a good thing.  So out came the buckets, and the next day a very good neighbor and my contractor came over and cut out part of my (pretty new) kitchen ceiling to determine where the water was coming from.  It turns out that some less than perfect work on gutter repairs on my home led to water infiltration.

As I am sometimes wont to do, I posted something on Facebook about how much I “love to watch the rain … but not in my kitchen.”  One of my friends wrote back and said that he hoped the problem would be fixed with as little pain as possible.  I wrote back that “this isn’t pain, this is just cost and inconvenience.”

Then I got to wondering whether that would have been my response a few years back.  Don’t get me wrong, I was stressed over how much damage had been done by the leak, but I managed to get back to sleep and sit on the couch the next day listening to the drops of water “dinging” in the plastic bins catching them without too much indigestion.

In my upcoming book, The Layman’s Guide to Surviving Cancer, I write about the “three P’s” of cancer survival (persistence, perspectives and priorities).  The second, perspectives, seemed to be coming into play with these “stresses” over the last few weeks.  It seems that, virtually anything that happens in the wake of cancer that might have truly thrown me off balance before cancer only has transitory effects now.  Having gone through the cancer battle, and working with others who have or are doing so now, it seems I am so much more able to put things into their proper perspective.  What is truly important or concerning seems clearer than it did when “stress” was a series of hazy inconveniences.  I have long felt that that is one of the “blessings” of cancer; that it clarifies life and explains it in simple terms.  And I am so thankful to be able to experience the leaky roofs of life.

In healing,



  1. Betty Aboff says

    Howard—you are so right—every day is a gift and a blessing. Everyone should realize priorities and put things in perspective….one’ health, family and good friends are more important than anything in the world—all the best…..I enjoyed the leaky roof article -hope all fixed now….Betty

    • Thanks Betty. I so agree. Too often it takes a truly traumatic and life-altering event to make us realize what is truly important and valuable. (And the roof appears fixed, thanks).