Cancer changed me for the better 26



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“It’s probably nothing” were the words swimming around inside my head on May 24 in 2007. I was walking into my doctors’ office to speak about some test results and although I had a knot forming in the bottom of my stomach, those were the words I was telling myself.

That was the day I learned that I had stage two cancer; my world changed dramatically. At first I was miserable asking the universe “why me?”. I went through countless hours of treatment that seem like years looking back now, but somehow I came through on the other side. I had one relapse three years later and miraculously, my body and the medicine fought that too.

Cancer is a different experience for everyone. There are parts of the battle that are just plain awful and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. But I wanted to share my story because by some stroke of luck I believe I came out the other side as a better person.

Cancer changed me for the better because it taught me things I probably wouldn’t have recognised or realised otherwise….

1. It taught me that lying to yourself or others doesn’t do any good

When I was first diagnosed I went into denial. I didn’t want people knowing about it and some days I would pretend I didn’t even have it. This only made me upset and even more depressed about the situation. But the day I decided to accept that this was my reality and I may as well get on with it instead of living in denial changed everything in the most positive way possible.


2. It taught me that fear is only as powerful as you let it be

The fear of dying was massive, especially through my relapse. But fear achieves nothing, living in fear doesn’t improve our lives it restricts us from enjoying what we can. The day someone told me to stop fearing the future and start living in the moment everything shifted – my attitude, my perceptions and my hope.


3. It taught me that value has absolutely nothing to do with money

For so long I was someone who thought everything with “value” could be purchased with a dollar. It took going through this to realise that value was so much more than that. Real value was the support from friends and family. Value was having a friend there to take you to appointments, help you clean and laugh along with you when the chips were down. Value was having something to be thankful for every day. Value was in everything around me that you couldn’t buy.


4. It taught me that those people around you are more important than we give them credit for

My family and friends were amazing. I always loved them and appreciated them, but it took this to realise just how lucky I was to have them around me. It’s a battle that you really can’t go through alone and it made me appreciate the people in my life more than ever.


It’s fair to say that I took many things for granted for a large part of my life. I’ve definitely been in the second half of my life for a while now and the change in who I am has been huge since going through cancer.

Everyone has a different journey, some struggle more than others, some are barely affected. There is no correct way to deal with it and no one has found the perfect way to manage it yet, but this is my story and I hope that no matter your cancer journey, you’ve come out a stronger person too.


Tell us, how has cancer affected your life?

Guest Contributor

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my beautiful sister to this terrible disease and your story actually made me realise a few things I missed while going down thus tragic road with her. Thank you and may you have many years free with your family

  2. I had a lung removed in 2001 was told maybe 5 yrs at the most well its now 15 and still going strong, Which is why I am doing the worlds greatest shave in Dandenong Victoria on the 17/03/15. contact me if you would like to take part please, Lets rid the world of this disease.

  3. It’s true we all take things for granted but you are a stronger person for your travels and I hope you have many more years.Stay positive and enjoy

  4. Lovely storey.
    A breast cancer survivor myself , now into my 6 years. It does make you a better person . I never once said ( why me ) . And I believe that makes a big difference.
    And having a great loving support group , really helps.

    1 REPLY
    • I had breast cancer last year i was lucky found it early had all the radiation and you are so right never feeling sorry for yourself and laughing a lot but I must say every day I think hope they got it all I know they have it’s just a little worry I have he he good luck for the future

  5. Ridiculous statement, cancer never changed anyone’s life for the better, it wrecks lives, both the sufferer and their families. And when it’s fatal their loved ones left have their live changed forever, but for the better, I don’t think so.

    4 REPLY
    • No it is not ridiculous…it is life Gorden and Brenda, and we all have a choice whether we allow the storms to beat us or make us stronger. But it effects everyone differently, as she said.

    • Suzanne Harris, please don’t feel sorry for me, but cancer is a horrible thing and it does wreck lives, been there done that, I know it does, unfortunately from experience. Have met hundreds of suffers and there families and NONE of them think it has improved their lives.

  6. Thank you, I agree with you so much. I have found that my friends and family are wonderful and help me so much, I am still having treatment and have off days but I know I will be fine and get past this.

  7. Lovely story and relates to so many of us,I’m a breast Cancer surviver 22yrs,so fortunate.i have lost people with this horrific decease,and still go through a type of guilt of surviving and my loved ones losing the battle and a couple I know going through it now,always asking why ?All though so grateful to be here love my life .It did make me a very positive person .

  8. Having cancer made me a better person, more compassionate. I have lost family members and friends to cancer but none of them ever said “why me”. Also from my experience it makes you value the little things, frees from the silliness of being bothered by ” keeping up with our image obsessed media”

  9. I am on my journey with having had a mastectomy 2 weeks ago and I am already feeling great changes within me. Don’t sweat the small stuff and just keep positive. Believe in Gods mercy and all will be well.

  10. I am having Hyperbaric Theraphy and there are many people that have cancer are using this method…..oxygen kills cancer….well worth looking into… In 2002 the Medical Advisory Council recommended everyone complating having amputation should have Hyperbaric Theraphy as 92% success rate, yet doctors do not get payed so you have to ask for this treatment — it saved my leg 7 years ago as RPH wanted to cut it off….

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