How to live a happy life with cancer

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There’s nothing glamorous about cancer. To an extent, we all live in fear of it. What is cancer? It’s a simple six-letter word that has been given a great amount of strength. This word in itself is nothing, though. It only has the power to bring us to our knees because we give it that power. Think about giving the word cancer no more power than the word shoe. Project that same mindset onto the disease itself. When it gets to be too much, push aside the fear and the anguish. Push aside the meaning of cancer.

Do Something Else

How does someone live with cancer? Think about those words: live with cancer. Take away some of the emphasis you naturally place on the word cancer and put that emphasis in to the word live. You are still living. This is still your life. You are fighting not to let cancer claim your life. Would it make any sense then to let cancer take today from you, or tomorrow?

Redirect your attention to something else. Step out of the world of oncology and into a world of options. What that something else is that you devote your attention to can be entirely up to you, but it should bring you joy. Don’t throw yourself into work. Throw yourself into things that lighten your mood and delight your soul. Get in touch with the side of yourself that wants to know why this happened to you. Instead of imploring why, ask what you can take away from it. What can you change moving forward that will make your life more fulfilling? If this were it and there were no more tomorrows, what would you want to spend today doing? Then do it as often as possible.

When It’s Terminal

It seems a lot easier to look at cancer as a bump in the road that life has taken you along when your road is guaranteed to continued. When the cancer is highly curable or remission is in effect, it’s a lot simpler to say cancer isn’t as big of a deal. When it’s claiming your life, that’s another story. Those individuals often get lost on the path between diagnosis and death. They don’t know how to live out their final days. They weren’t warned that they would even know ahead of time when their time would come. How are they supposed to walk through the rest of their life knowing it’s not going to last nearly as long as they expected?

If you are spiritual or follow a specific religious belief, now is the time to dig deep into that realm of your life. Connect to yourself on a deeper level. Ask for the forgiveness you feel you need. Then forgive yourself. Practice letting go of the things that don’t matter. The more able you are to relinquish control over the here and now, the easier it will be to know you have no control over what happens next.

Whether you’re battling a terminal bout of cancer or you’re on your way to remission, know that therapy can go a long way in improving your quality of life. You can attend solo, bring your partner, or drag your whole family with you. Seek the advice of a counselor who specializes in grief therapy. This is also a great way for terminal patients to make sure their families have a supportive network to rely on after they’ve passed.




Cite this page: Danielle Bosley, "How to live a happy life with cancer," in, January 30, 2017, (accessed September 29, 2022).