7 Thoughts on Accepting Change After Cancer

It’s easy to hate change, especially when it barges in frightening and unwanted. Usually, the first instinct is to fight it every step of the way. But if it’s serenity you seek, you’re only going to get there by accepting the changes you cannot change.

When I’m struggling with change (which happens much more than I like to admit) the following help me see things through different eyes:

  1. “Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert – Change wakes us up and makes us re-evaluate our priorities and choices.
  2. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi – Change isn’t only something that happens to us, we can and must be proactive if we want to make change for the better in the world.
  3. “If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou – If you are enduring difficulties, you always have a choice as to how you approach your situation.
  4. “Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir – So many of us put off making changes out of fear of the unknown. The bottom line is all we have is today. If you want to make a change, do it now.
  5. “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner – Gilda faced terminal cancer and came to embrace life as a “delicious ambiguity.” Her ability to face change and all the fear that it brings will always inspire me.
  6. “If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.” – Lao Tzu – We fear change because of the pain it can cause. Think of what you could achieve if you relinquished that fear through acceptance.
  7. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman – Amen!

The very moment cancer comes into your life, it is changed forever. The struggle is how to accept change you have no control over and still somehow move ahead.

Survival > Existence,


Image courtesy of Ginny.

My partner/spouse

Hello, thank you for this opportunity to write down my pain. My partner just finished (yesterday) cancer treatments for kidney cancer. He struggles with many things, like the type of cAncer, possible side affects etc. I and his care team (his two daughters) thought that he would be so happy when the treatments ended. The reverse has happened…he asked the oncologist is her would be able to go in the sun…he loves being in th sun as we live in the cold north. The oncologist suggested that he could but to cover the area that was radiated (mid-torso). I felt this was sensible but my partner bcame extremely angry and when we got home he went to bed, pulled the covers over his head and stayed there for 24 hours. When he speaks to me it is very clipped and the anger is palpable! It is also very toxic to me…he reverts to anger quickly, but nirmally keeps it in check. I am so distraught…I have planned a trip away with my family for the next week…more just to get away from the tioxicty here. The sadness I feel is profound because we have always had a very loving, exciting beautiful relationship. Not sure of what to do or how to go forward…

Unfortunately, Anger is a Very Normal Emotion After Treatment


Unfortunately, I know many, many cancer survivors (myself included) who struggled at the end of treatment. During treatment you’re so involved with the process that you don’t have a lot of time to deal with the emotional part of cancer. Then, all of a sudden, treatment is over and everything you’ve been through comes crashing down. I remember being so upset (and mad) when I couldn’t lift my legs up in a Pilates class. I was ticked that it was just one more thing that cancer had taken from me.  I know it’s really difficult now, but it gets better with time. Also, what really helped me was talking with other survivors. It takes time and support to process emotions and work through the new normal of cancer. It’s very hard on family too, I know. Make sure you take care of you, too. Join a caregiver support group or speak to a counselor at the cancer center. Good luck to both of you.

Survival > Existence,


Stage III triple negative breast cancer

February,2016 I was diagnosed.surgery March 28, first Chemotherapy May 10 – July 12. Then 8 weeks of radiation. I have not seen the doctor since. They gave me a 6 month return appointment. That won’t be until May 2017. I don’t know what to expect. Is my cancer gone? Is it metastasizing in my body? When can I call myself a “Breast Cancer Survivor”?

You’re There Already!


The definition of cancer survivor is any person diagnosed with cancer, from the time of initial diagnosis until her death. So, feel free to call yourself a “Breast Cancer Survivor” right now, you’ve certainly earned the right. As to your other questions, I know how hard it is to wait for information – getting more and more anxious as time goes by. One thing I learned was that I had the right to reach out when I needed support and answers. Call your doctor’s office and talk with a nurse or patient navigator. Go to your cancer center and join a support group or see a social worker. You don’t have to wait in silence and worry all by yourself. Reach out and you’ll be glad you did.

I wish you all the best.

Survival > Existence,


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