Taking Cancer One Day at a Time

By Mira Becker

Imagine that you have cancer. Months of intense treatment awaits; there seems like there will be no end. You feel horribly sick and you never know when the next good day will come. How can you possibly make it through? My dad, Dave Becker, was a graduate school student when he faced that same situation. He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of cancer that involves harsh treatments that spanned for about six months. In order to cope with the treatments and the months ahead, he focused on getting through each day one day at a time. Please listen to my interview with him in which he shares what helped him get through cancer and some positive things that came out of his experience.

What is a Hero?

"When you hear the word 'hero,' you may think of Superman swooping in to save the day, firefighters running into the burning twin towers on 9/11, and a random stranger pushing a child out of the way of a car. These heroes risk their lives for others and spend their time trying to make the world a better place. However, a hero doesn’t have to be someone who goes above and beyond to improve the world around them. A hero is someone who inspires others to grow as a person, whether it be through their actions or their words" ("Who is a Hero?").

Click the button below to read about everyday people and why they are heroes!

Why My Dad is My Hero

"Day in and day out for months [my dad] felt horribly sick, never knowing when the next good day would come. Instead of losing hope and focusing on the negatives, he put aside the immense weight of dread and got through one day at a time. It would have been easy for him to fall into the abyss of hopelessness and self-pity but instead, he persevered" ("Perseverance: The Common Trait of Heroes"). "I can’t even begin to comprehend how he was able to get through his treatments without losing his mind and being overwhelmed by despair. The fortitude he must have had in order to get through his treatment never ceases to amaze and inspire me. When facing my own difficulties, I remember that if he could hold on to hope throughout his cancer treatments, I can find the strength to overcome my own problems" ("Who is a Hero?"). "When he looks back on his experience, he doesn’t focus on all the negatives of feeling sick and hopeless; he remembers the important lessons he learned: get through difficulties one day at a time and live your life in a way you won’t regret. Every day, he inspires me with his perseverance and reminds me to take those lessons to heart" ("Perseverance: The Common Trait of Heroes").

Lessons to Live By

Here are some lessons my dad has taught me (directly and indirectly) throughout the years:

- Take hardships one day at a time

- Focus on what's important to you

- Stay true to yourself and your beliefs

- It will get better if you can persevere through hard times

- Sometimes being stubborn is a good thing

- Know yourself and your boundaries

- Stop thinking about what others are thinking of you and let loose

- Sometimes prioritizing yourself and the things that are important to you means upsetting others, and that's okay

-Live your life in a way you won't regret

What does Helen Keller have to do with my dad?

They both show traits of a hero by demonstrating immense perseverance. Click the button below to learn more about why Helen Keller is a hero and how she and my dad are alike!

The Mind-Body Connection

"Imagine that your brain is a remote control and your body is a television screen. Depending on what buttons you press on the remote, the television screen responds differently. The relationship between the brain and the body is extraordinary; it goes beyond the brain simply telling the body what to do, as in the movement of limbs or the production of sound. The manner in which the brain reacts to a particular situation can affect the body in a different way. In the same way that pushing the mute button on a remote control turns off the sound on the television, feeling stressed can trigger the brain to increase blood pressure in the body. This phenomenon is called the mind-body connection. The idea behind it is that negative emotions produce negative effects on the body; positive emotions, positive effects. Because long-term negative emotions could induce potential health risks, introducing regular positive emotions into daily life could lower health risks and even improve health" ("Protectors of Physical Health: Optimism and Meditation").

What are some ways you can incorporate positive emotions into daily life to improve physical health? Click the button below to see if meditation and optimism do the trick.


Everybody has their holiday. Some people love Christmas; others, St. Patrick's Day. For my dad, that holiday is Halloween. Every year, we lug the skeletons, clowns, (fake) heads, zombies, and a variety of other Halloween decorations out of our dusty shed and spend a day decorating. Click the buttons below to see videos my dad put together of our decorations!
Click the button below to listen to the full-length, unedited version of my interview with my dad!