“What do you know today that you wish you’d known in the beginning as a new cancer survivor?”
I stumbled on this question and I wanted to answer it the best way I could.
I remembered how I felt newly diagnosed and thought about how I feel now 16 months on.
I would have done anything to erase those first few months following diagnosis from my life. But it happened and somehow I muddled through and I’m here today more confident and much less frightened than I was in the early days.
At the time of diagnosis you can’t see the wood for the trees and there’s this fear that you will die or you’ll survive and be depressed fearful and constantly crying living in this hell.
I had my heart broken once so I can say that cancer is a bit like that in many ways. The thing is though, most of us move on and we meet some new. Then we look back and think what did I even see in her anyway? That’s when you know that time has healed you.
Although you are never completely over cancer and you cant forget all you went through, you do heal in time too.
I would go back and tell myself or anyone with a new diagnosis that you must let yourself feel. You won’t always feel frightened or lonely and depressed. You won’t lie awake every night thinking you’re going to die. As each month passes you will start to think that you are going to survive this.
Losing your hair isn’t all that bad. Everyone thinks it’s the worst part of all but to most people it isn’t. it’s surprising how quickly you get used to it and it grows back quickly.
Rely on people more. Don’t be too proud to ask for help and put yourself first. Physical touch is really important. Hug and kiss people as much as possible. I wish I had hugged people more, I really needed hugging more than I ever cared to admit.
Don’t listen to anyone unless they are medically qualified. People always have something negative to say which is unhelpful. I used to let the negatives get to me but honestly just ignore their silly advise and trust your medical team.
Have 1 or 2 friends or family members you can really offload and rely on. People will be nosey and some won’t be there for you but don’t worry about them. Cancer tests friendships and relationships to the max but its who’s standing there at the end by your side who really matter.
Lastly and most importantly you must love yourself. Don’t worry about being selfish others don’t and they aren’t even fighting cancer. Be kind to yourself, be your own best friend. It’s a hard long road ahead but you will get through it mentally if you stay true to yourself.
There’s no prizes for being the bravest or most positive the only prize is enjoying life again after cancer and that is definitely possible in time..