Cancer Changed Me


Hope ~ Strength ~ Power ~ Belief ~ Courage ~ Honor ~ Determination

I have been told that cancer changed me.  Indeed, it wasn’t said it in the nicest of ways.  In fact, it was taken as a disparaging comment and I was appalled by the off-hand comment.  My first reaction was to defend myself at the time, to show how cancer didn’t change me.  But I left well-enough alone and decided to say nothing.  However, I was hurt by the retort.

Had cancer really changed me?

The question mulled in my head for days and many sleepless nights, more than I’d like to admit, but it’s true.  I’ve written how cancer changes you enough times in this blog to know that the reality is – YES, cancer changes most of us.  It has to, or we wouldn’t still be here.  For we have seen into the yawning mouth of our own demise, endured the most feared emotions and have come out of it alive, so far.  Looking at your own potential death does change you.

It makes you more aware for the most part.  Some of us now see with finite definition that life is short and there are no guarantees how much time we have on this earth.  We become grateful for the beauty in nature, for the simple pleasures that kindness brings and for a real, loving hug which can cure many ills.  We look to connect with others more because we know what it’s like to feel alone.  We share our stories, encourage each other and find the courage to be who we authentically are!  We smile when we are tired.  We work hard to overcome obstacles and to be there for others, even when we feel depleted.  We take that extra moment to smile and to enjoy goodness when it comes into our lives.  We are grateful for the support that we have been given and we look to support others to continue the flow of goodness.  We share tips to help others and happily receive tips to make our lives easier.

We know that all the money in the world, with all the frivolities are fleeting and really don’t mean a damn when death comes knocking at our door.  It’s that silence between ourselves and our maker (or our beliefs) in the quiet of the night that counts.  It’s regarding peace within as a precious gift, time spent with loved ones and a centered calm in which to retreat when life becomes hard.  It’s the voice within the stillness which speaks of love, gratitude, peace with ourselves and others and God.

Yes, cancer changed me.  That’s for sure.  Perhaps it was the misunderstanding of me that caused this person to spout the ‘dig’ as I took it.  Sometimes it takes a loss for us to be humble and perhaps there will be people who simply never understand.  And that’s ok with me.

I am me, authentically me.  I make mistakes, I ask for forgiveness and I forgive.  I choose to live in a state of peace within when I can, but I am always evolving, ever growing and yet, trying to do all things with love.  I intend to do my best, at any given moment, but I’m human.  I’m a work in progress.  Aren’t we all?

What’s precious to me in my life is love, kindness and connections and I strive every day to live with those three precious gems in my life.  Cancer made me a better person by giving me so many lessons in my life.  I’ve learned so much from cancer, even though I never wanted to endure that disease.  Looking back on my life, I realize that I am who I am today because of cancer.  Even if others don’t understand me, it’s ok now.  I’m at peace and I’m ever grateful for the peace within me.

Shine On!


18 thoughts on “Cancer Changed Me

  1. Kudos to you for being there for your loved ones when you are tired and sick/hurting. At those times, I’m more like the airline passenger urged to put on their own oxygen mask before putting one on their child. When I can hardly get out of bed, someone else has to make the cupcakes for school! It meant that all my kids are independent adults, capable of making good decisions.

    • Excellent that you’ve raised independent adults! Proud of you and of them – and proud of my own kids too. I could use a bit more put my own oxygen mask on first lessons, so feel free to teach me! xo

      • Ha, ha! I could be supportive in some ways, but in others, I needed their help and they stepped up. It was autoimmune, not cancer, but it was a huge lifestyle change. I’m much better now, but the children saw what they could do. It forced us to loosen up and let go a bit. Some of my kids were probably older than yours (16, 13, 13, and 5). The 5-year old was wonderful cuddle-support!

  2. Yvonne, This is one of your most powerful posts to date and I sense your frustrations. As I read this, there are so many things I want to say, but fear I am not qualified to do so . . . and hope I never am. I’ll leave it at that and send virtual hugs from SC.

    • Thank you Ray. I pray you never endure cancer either, but I am always open to listening to what you have to say, especially because we’ve been blogging friends for years. Thanks for the virtual hugs, sending back to you in appreciation for your kindness. Been talking to Padre Pio…finding peace. I’m sure you have much to say about what you’ve seen/experienced in your line of work about people and how they experience death of a loved one.

  3. “Even if others don’t understand me, it’s ok now.” – It’s always been OK, but I’m glad you have the strength and wisdom to learn from this, as you have throughout your life.

  4. I used to think cancer didn’t change me. I still believe I am still me but….minus worrying about the bullshit. I let go of people and situations that don’t serve me or that don’t add meaning to my life. I have pared down and gotten rid of anything that is superfluous. Time is limited and precious.
    So, yes, in a fundamental way, cancer changed me.

  5. I read this, liked it , then had to come back to it. Of course cancer changed you. We change daily by our experiences and hopefully for the better. If someone does not care for the growth you have made, it’s their problem. We all get something that encourages growth. Some take it in a positive direction, others do not. Obviously, you are going at it in a positive way and growing in faith and that may threaten someone who likes the status quo. You can keep cutting the grass but it’s still going to grow. You have the wisdom to see it’s necessary. Don’t waste another moment on someone so clueless. Keep growing.

  6. How could it not change you? Im sure the world looks more beautiful every day and the people you love, you tell them all the time, knowing none of us are guaranteed we will see the next sunrise. You are a beautiful soul and I thank you Yvonne for your honesty and inspiring words.
    Kath xxx

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