What Has Cancer Taught You?
You Are Never Alone
Fact: When diagnosed with cancer your world forever changes. This transitional period is called before cancer, during cancer and after cancer. In between each period you will experience some tough lessons.
You will feel lost. You will go through times of confusion. You will feel anxious and apprehensive. Chances are you might think that a cancer diagnosis is the end of life as you know. All of these feelings and emotions are normal. You will survive. You will fight with all your strength.
When you don't have the strength to fight, your team will fight for you. Your team consists of caring individuals who have your back. Your team could be comprised of family, friends, co-workers, doctors, nurses or neighbors.
Your team could also consist of an online group of peers who could totally relate to your journey. How? Because they are also on the same roller coaster ride, or they have been there...either way, they can talk the talk because they have walked the walk.
In order for you not to be too overwhelmed on your journey, I asked my team the question, "What Has Cancer Taught You?" Below are their responses that came from the heart.
A little about myself. I am not a medical professional. I do not have cancer. I lost my mother to Colon Cancer in 2002. I am a caregiver to my husband who was diagnosed in 2008 with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer.
I have earned the right to talk the talk, because I've walked the walk. I know how it feels to be alone, scared and confused. I never want any one to feel that way. It's my mission to make sure others know that, "You are never alone."
I hope the advice below from an amazing group of people will give you hope and comfort through your journey.
Words of wisdom for your cancer journey...
- To be grateful and open minded.
- To never take anyone or any day that we are in this life for granted.
- The power of a caregivers devotion.
- Never take anything for granted and to have patience.
- No two cases are alike, cancer has a mind of its own.
- Focus on the moment.
- Try not to worry about tomorrow, when you have today. No matter how much you worry, what's going to happen...will happen.
- Make everlasting memories.
- Little things mean a lot.
- Try to find humor in the moment. Don't allow cancer to make you bitter and angry.
- Be proactive and preventative and get those (annoying) procedures done in order to find early onsets of cancer.
- Be your own advocate and don't always trust everything the doctor says.
- Everyone has dormant cancer and stress brings it out to attack the weakest part of the body. Find ways to reduce stress.
- It seems that most things we learn are "after the fact." Educate yourself. Be one step ahead of the doctors.
- Google will become your lifeline. Use your best judgement. Don't believe everything you read. Make a list of pros and cons of your searches. Knowledge is a gift to yourself.
- It has taught me that I am much stronger than I ever thought possible, but also very vulnerable.
- It has taught me than NO one is exempt and that family support means everything.
- Not EVERYONE has "Good" intentions. This includes "family and friends."
- People who haven't walked the walk, do not understand what you are going through. Don't be offended by the ones who will slowly vanish into the abyss, it's their issue, not yours.
- Be your own best advocate and always remember to celebrate the bonus days by living life to the fullest. Try your best to not allow cancer to consume your every thought.
- Accept that it's okay to lean on family and friends.We are human, not superheroes. And always remember that HOPE floats & laughter RULES.
- It has taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought. Now, I rewind what I went through with my husband and I just say, thank God. At the same time my mom was sick.
- Cancer has taught me to let the people in my life know how much they mean to me. I found when I need to I have an inner strength to continue on, my strength will be there.
- If you have any doubt whatsoever, get a second opinion. And a third, if necessary.
- A disease like cancer does not define you. A cancer patient is just a person who has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. You are a person first, a cancer patient second. Never let the "patient" come before the person.
- I actually thanked the Lord for making me one hell of a strong woman to withstand all this. God has given me one strong man...my husband, he is doing so well. Cancer free, heart healthy...so cancer has given me the strength I thought I never had and led me back to my faith.
- That life is shorter than you think and that all of us have an expiration date. Cancer doesn't attack anyone in particular, it's the luck of the draw. The grass is greener, sky bluer, trees bigger. God is there for you every step of the way and I feel him closer now. Be positive. Think outside of the box more. Enjoy the little things more. Family is precious. Be thankful for everything, even the most little things.
More lessons to learn from cancer...
- Cancer has taught me many things I may never have had to think about or deal with had my sister not been diagnosed at age 54. I was introduced to the overwhelming fear that the mere word, "cancer" instills in its victims and their loved ones. A cancer diagnosis can have the power to change nearly every aspect of one's life.
- I learned no one is safe from its attack and that victims must pull from every direction to gain enough strength and stamina to fight against it every step of the way. I believe my family and I came to the realization that cancer isn't always a death sentence, but there is so much that must be researched and decided upon in terms of treatment.
- I learned that cancer sparks its victims and their caregivers into taking daily actions to live with their eyes and hearts open, appreciate each and every positive result and be hugely grateful for every moment.
- A committed caregiver makes a huge difference. I don't know how anyone goes "solo" and survives. Conversely, the commitment and support (and effort) that a caregiver offers is the truest affirmation possible of a loving relationship.
- Use your best judgement and read your test results. Understand your condition and see if there are any options on treatment.
- Read your scans as the Doctor will not tell you everything that is wrong with your body. Second opinion, which I haven't done, but should.
- Don't give up, as I was supposed to die, but I'm still alive to share my journey with others. Always go to a big hospital specializing in your condition. I would be dead now if I stayed at a small hospital.
- If you can't afford all of this, play the poor card and most of the time they will cut the bill in half. See if you are eligible for Medicaid.
- Expect the unexpected.
- You don't realize how limited your time is until you have to commit to something or someone that really matters, then you have to start thinking about where you focus your time.
- You realize things that you always thought were important really are not and things that you didn't think mattered really do.
- It has been a long journey with ups and downs like a roller coaster. But, we will continue to do what we can do to keep things going.
- To embrace each day as if it was my last and be grateful for all the blessings you have been given.
- You will be faced with challenges that might frighten you. Such as imaging scans...don't allow the MRI or CT Scan machine to intimidate you, use every ounce of your courage and just get 'er done. If that doesn't work, request a Xanax or two.
- Cancer has taught me that a quality life is so precious and we manage to pull out the strength to be daughters and sisters and wives who let others lean on us, confide in us and have deep discussions on love and life and the importance of those around us.
- That life is uncertain and to appreciate this beautiful world. My husband and I have learned that a life with quality and dignity is more important than the quantity of days.
- To live and die with dignity is so important and we gave that to my parents and hope we shall also have that.
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What has cancer taught me?
Facebook Support Group
My group on Facebook is called "Cancer Teamwork" just search and you shall find the support you need during your journey.
We welcome fighters, surviviors, caregivers and supporters. In other words, everyone is welcome.
Thank you for teaching us a lesson...
To all who have offered their words of wisdom with us. I, thank you. The readers, thank you.
Your voice has been heard and will continue to give comfort to those in need...
Cap - Donald - Gloria - Darrell - Dee - Joanne - Lorna - Michelle - Linda - Anita - Bob - Maria - Yolanda - Deb F. - Paula - Larry - Jane - Sue Pr. - Billy Bob - Becky - Emma - Kathy W. - Deb F.
Cancer Etiquette - Includes the Do's and Don'ts
- Cancer Etiquette
Chances are we will all be affected by cancer at sometime in our lives. This article shares the do's and don'ts from my perspective.
© 2014 Linda Bilyeu
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