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What Has Cancer Taught You?

Updated on September 2, 2016
Sunshine625 profile image

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.

What has cancer taught you?
What has cancer taught you? | Source

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.

Tribute to Cancervivors via Florida Hospital Cancer Institute
Tribute to Cancervivors via Florida Hospital Cancer Institute | Source

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 husband, he is doing so well. Cancer free, heart 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.

Teamwork is about coming together and showing support to assist others in their fight against cancer.
Teamwork is about coming together and showing support to assist others in their fight against cancer. | Source

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.

The Chemo Kids
The Chemo Kids | Source

Do you share lessons you learn during your journey?

See results

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.

© 2014 Linda Bilyeu

What has cancer taught you?

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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      The most important lesson we have learned is to live our lives as they should be day at a time, sometimes, one hour at a time.

      Things are of little consequence; it is the precious people in our lives that make each day worth living

      Well stated, Sunshine....many spot on points made here....

      voted up++++

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      6 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Thank you for the encouraging article. No situation in life is a waste if we can learn something positive from it. Wonderful article.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      7 years ago from New York

      You are an amazing lady and the journey you and Cap have shared is an inspiration to so many. This hub is not only a guide for those with cancer but there are many hints and thoughts that everyone can use in their daily lives.

      I've been through the cancer journey with my dad, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my granddaughter. It is not an easy journey but as you have pointed out so well, faith and love will see you through.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 years ago from USA

      Thank you Linda for these words of advice and encouragement. Seeing someone we love battle cancer is devastating. I am often at a loss for words and feel helpless when I want to be helping. Reading this, I often felt you were speaking to much of your message hits home. Hugs... Steph

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for sharing all of these ideas and encouragement to find support groups. I am posting your article to twitter today.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      Just beautiful, Sunshine,

      Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom with all. This is such an important hub here and I pray many will read and be filled with much courage through their journey of cancer or going through it with their precious family members.

      So true, that no two cases are alike. I am a breast cancer survivor since 2011, and each day ... well, each moment of each day is a blessing, and I know it. I treasure each day like never before and just love my family and I am so thankful to have them to love on and love me back. Life is a beautiful gift, and let us not take one moment for granted.

      Thank you for being a beacon of light to those who are going through their cancer journey. I pray your husband continues on in strength and what a blessing, I know he knows, to have you in his life, as did your parents.

      Voted up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Hugs and blessings to you and yours

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      7 years ago from USA

      This is a great article, Sunshine, and it is good of you to have shared these important views that I know have come from hard truths. God bless, my friend, God bless.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 years ago from Dubai

      Great valuable hub. Cancer is difficult to face and reading your hub will give the courage to keep on going and be brave.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is such an inspirational hub for all those who may be facing similar difficult times due to Cancer. Very positive thoughts from a strong person.

      Thanks, Voted up and sharing, so that it reaches many affected in the same way!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi Linda, you are such a strong person, I do hope your husband continues to improve, my aunt had breast cancer and it was not a pleasant time, it certainly brings home the thoughts that you have said, shared all the way, nell

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Words well spoken, Jaye...Thank you.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you for your support Mary...always appreciated.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Travraj, I agree. The lessons learned by those who contributed in this article do apply to any chronic disease. Cancer sucks, but so do many other illnesses.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Flourish, Thank you. Your words are appreciated.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      7 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Linda - This is a very special article filled with wisdom gained the difficult way--by fighting against the enemy that is cancer. Thank you for sharing it with readers, and I hope your husband continues to improve. You, as his caretaker, are the top person on his team and inspirational to all who read your hubs about this experience.

      Voted Up+++/Shared


    • fpherj48 profile image


      7 years ago from Carson City

      Gail.....You just made me cry.....

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Dear Linda, I've had friends and family who have battled cancer: some made it, some did not. It's a horrible disease. I wonder if a cure will ever be found??

      I am so happy your hubby is doing well. I have told you before how much I admire you for so many reasons; your way of dealing with cancer is just another reason I admire you.

      Voted UP, etc.etc. and shared all over, Mary

    • travmaj profile image


      7 years ago from australia

      Such an important piece here, for those touched by cancer and for the friends, family and carers. Sometimes a difficult subject to touch upon, you have made a difference with this wise and accessible article. While the words offered are meaningful to cancer they can apply equally to sufferers of other medical problems. Thank you for this.

    • ologsinquito profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      You've been at the front lines of this cancer battle. I like your message that life is precious.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Beautiful work here and a message from the heart. Brings tears to my eyes. Voted up and more. Sharing and pinning. Prayers and hugs for those who are struggling with cancer, caring for someone with cancer, or waiting for a test result that could change their world.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Diana...I hope so too. Very much.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Dianna, I hope those people will never, ever be touched by cancer. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi DDE, I'm glad to hear your friend is doing well with her journey. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you, Jools. Your comment means more than you know.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 

      7 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This is a good hub. I've lost many loved ones to Cancer. I pray a cure is found soon before many more have to suffer.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Not many of us have not been touched by cancer in some way in our life. I have learned listening is the best response when someone wants to share about their cancer. You have posted great wisdom and advice here and it will help many to understand the journey. Voted up and sharing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      My neighbor had breast cancer and people just went by to visit her she had support from family and friends. Now recovering and doing well. Another very thoughtful hub from you,

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      7 years ago from North-East UK

      Linda, this is a wonderful article which resonates with so many things, I had to make a list - honesty (vital), inspiration, kindness, positivity, wisdom, I could go on. It's a really truthful account of your journey and all the better for it. Anyone affected by cancer will be reading it and nodding and remembering their experiences - and those yet to go through it will find a lot of useful stuff they can use as they move forward - much love Linda, well done!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Sha and Deb.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Martie, Great suggestion. I did write an article about the do's and don'ts a couple of years ago...Cancer Etiquette. I shared a link above. You have been an amazing part of our support system and I appreciate you.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Bill, Your mother and sister were very wise women. They taught you well :)

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Gail, I appreciate you sharing your personal and sad journey. Thanks for also sharing your advice of the magic of the "personal touch."

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      We've come a long way, Sue. I'm glad that Mike is doing so well and that you are also. Enjoy retirement.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you for stopping by, Rebecca.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you, Adrien for sharing your thoughts.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      7 years ago from Iowa

      Linda, you are a marvelous voice for those battling cancer. Thanks for collecting and sharing these wise words.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Linda, this is a beautiful sharing of your caring nature. I'm sure many, many people will find comfort and strength in the words on this page.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Dear Linda, thank you for sharing these most important lessons taught by Cancer. For me, who has not yet walk the Cancer walk, the mere word - Cancer - fills me with fear, but a hub like this assures me that C is not the end of the world, but the beginning of just another process of learning. Life is all about learning and growing. Thank you for sharing all the lessons you are learning. They go straight to my arsenal of knowledge, and I am already using them during my interactions with people who have been diagnosed with C.

      What about posting a list of do's and don't do's when a friend or relative have been diagnosed with C. What does a person who has been diagnosed expect from their relatives and friends. What kind of comments will comfort and/or offend them?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great lessons, Linda. I lost my mother and sister to cancer, and they handled it with amazing grace, and many of these lessons they taught to me.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi Linda,

      This is an uplifting article with so many words of wisdom from those who have been affected by cancer and I will share it on FB and HP.

      When I was a teenager, I was deeply in love with a young man who was dying from bone cancer. During his final days, he taught me the power of touch when he said, "You have a great touch, so gentle and soothing that it brings me more comfort than the pain pills they’ve been giving me."

      Before he'd said that, I'd felt helpless about how to comfort him, but afterwards I knew the great importance of back rubs and touch, even though I hadn't yet learned the "right way" to give a back rub.

      Sending Hugs & Love,


    • profile image

      Sue pronschinske 

      7 years ago

      Wondeful writings once more, you're such an inspiring woman , always in. Your corner as you were ours , love you dear friend , keep on keeping on mr. Caption Dave , xoxoxo

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      7 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is a magnificent compilation of wisdom from those who have learned to survive a terrible disease. True fighters! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have learned that there is no point nurturing that which is not conducive to life but to focus on that which is. That is what survival is all about.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      7 years ago from Carson City

      awwww.....sending love and hugs and smiles.....always to all of you.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Paula, You have been a wealth of wisdom and support to our journey for many years...what would I do without you? I hope to never find out. Xo

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Kathleen, I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your lesson that you learned from your aunts journey.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi MM, Thank you for sharing and for your constant support. I appreciate you.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      7 years ago from Carson City

      Linda Sue....This is positively outstanding. An incredibly thoughtful and inspirational collection from individuals who HAVE really walked the walk. I love your comment about having the right and reason to "talk the talk!"

      I have told you so often how much I admire and respect you, Dave and all the people I have known who have fought and continue to fight this battle with hope and strength.

      Family, friends,medical staff.....everyone is valuable and necessary within the circle of care and support.

      This is simply fabulous. A must read I will share with others. Thank you, GF......Up+++.....pinned, googled, and mass mailed to my own peeps!.......Hugs to you

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      7 years ago from Bridgewater

      My aunt died of lung cancer at 35. I was taught to appreciate every day of my life after watching the pain she went through. I loved her so much, I miss her so much, and although I occasionally smoke, I hear her yelling at me from heaven. She was an amazing woman.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      7 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Linda,

      This is a treasure chest of life wisdom.

      I will be sharing and tweeting in the hopes that many see and share as well.

      Voted UP and UABI... beautiful work. Love, MM


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