17 Survivorship Skills For Surviving Cancer and Life View


    As we live our lives with and beyond cancer, we all need resources. One of mine is TalkAboutHealth. As a caring community, TalkAboutHealth provides a place to ask questions and get answers from experts, survivors and partner organizations. One of my favorite features is the daily expert, who answers questions within their expertise. I’ve heard from doctors, surgeons, researchers, health care experts, authors and speakers, and survivors and caregivers with fascinating stories to tell and wisdom to impart. I also had the honor of being a featured survivor and was asked compelling questions.

    A recent featured survivor was Brenda Coffee, a favorite blogger of mine. Brenda answered questions about the effects of a breast cancer diagnosis on husbands, children, treatments and starting over. As a member of TalkAboutHealth, I was able to read Brenda’s biography (she is a twice widowed caregiver, 10 year survivor and journalist with amazing stories to tell). Her story is so compelling, I had to ask her the following question:

    Given your diverse and challenging personal story, I have to ask: What are your most important survival skills and how did you aquire them?

    The answer Brenda sent back was a true gift from a survivor further down this road we all travel. I plan to keep a copy of Brenda’s list  and reprinted it here today with her kind permission and that of TalkAboutHealth, because you might need to hear it too:

    I’ve learned survivorship skills from most everyone I’ve ever met. They include:

    1.   Don’t take NO for an answer. No today, doesn’t mean no tomorrow.
    2.   It takes as much trouble to do nothing as to do something, so just do it!
    3.   If you plan for worse case, everything else you’ve got covered.
    4.   There’s always someone who’s worse off than you are.
    5.   Be a glass half-full, not a glass half-empty.
    6.   Act in your own best interest unless it hurts someone else, & even then, there may not be a choice.
    7.   Don’t let yourself panic because it feeds on itself & it’s harder to pull yourself back to neutral.
    8.   Do the hard things first.
    9.   Never underestimate yourself.
    10. Act, don’t react, and do it in a timely manner.
    11. Don’t wait until things are perfect or you may never do it. You can generallly tweak things in later.
    12. Ask for help.
    13. Surrender to God and pray for His guidance.
    14. Even though you may not WANT to do it, it may be the RIGHT thing to do.
    15. Role reverse. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
    16. Don’t promise more than you can deliver.
    17. Respect yourself with everything you do.

    Thank you again, Brenda, for this wonderful answer to my question. I am definitely glad I asked it on TalkAboutHealth.com. If you are a breast cancer survivor and haven’t yet visited TalkAboutHealth, make sure to check it out today. If you have, please let me know what your favorite answer was and how it affected you.

    Survival > Existence,


    Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


    Nancy's Point's picture

    Nice list. Writing is one of

    Nice list. Writing is one of my most valuable/useful/effective survival tools. I use it every day. Oh, and I’m a fan of Brenda’s too.

    Debbie's picture

    Thanks so much for your comment!


    I completely agree that writing is a survival skill.  The more I write, the more I realize how much it helps me heal. I guess we all have skills we could add to Brenda’s wonderful list.

    Thanks so much for your comment.

    Survival > Existence,


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